The afternoon in Austria presented good weather conditions today for a high octane shoot-out at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg circuit. Viñales was the third to last rider to exit pit lane in a dry qualifying, waiting for the majority of the pack to go out. Despite a small mistake on his first hot lap, he set a 1’25.067s to take second in the provisional standings. With his next attempt he temporarily took over the top spot, but was pushed back to fourth place when the pace quickened. His fourth lap shot him back up to third before he entered the pits with more than six minutes remaining.
The youngster was quickly back on track to have another crack at challenging the competition. Now in fourth place again, he put his head down and jumped to third in the charts, with a 1’23.754s. He was unable to improve on his last lap, but his best time was fast enough to secure fourth place on the grid, on the second row, 0.519s from first.
Rossi took his time to leave the pits for the qualifying session. He got straight down to business, scoring a temporary pole position on his first flying lap with a 1’24.558s, before being pushed back one place. The next minutes saw various riders claim the top spot in the rankings. The Doctor responded by improving his time on his second and third attempt, but was in fourth position when he entered the pits with seven minutes on the clock.
The Italian rushed back out a little more than a minute later, and found himself in seventh place. He broke into the 1’23’s with a 1’23.982s to move up to fifth. There was time for one more attack, but he didn?t improve on his best lap. He was pushed back by a late charge from a rival after the chequered flag went out, leaving him seventh in the results, 0.747s from the front.