Circuit conditions were uncertain as a dry line started to form at the start of the second 15-minute shoot out. Unharmed after a crash in FP4, Rossi quickly went out on track in Q2 and took a risk, putting on slick tyres. Though he booked consistent improvement on each lap as the tyres started to warm, his gamble didn’t pay off. The Italian returned to the pits in 11th place, with five and a half minutes on the clock.
He soon exited pit lane for another go, this time on wet tyres, but at the end of his out lap there were only one and a half minutes of the session remaining, which meant he would only have one attempt to set a fast time. The Doctor put the hammer down, dropping a 1’57.786s lap, more than 12s quicker than he was on slicks, but he didn’t gain a position and had to settle for 12th place, on the fourth row on the grid.
After finishing outside the top-10 in this morning’s FP3 session, Viñales had to enter Q1 but looked to be a strong contender for advancement to Q2. The Spaniard didn’t linger at the start of the first qualifying heat and immediately set the provisional fastest time on his first flying lap, but dropped back to third place when he visited the pit box to put in an extra soft tyre.
He was sitting in fourth position when he resumed his attack and set a 1’55.916s for second place, but was pushed back two positions in the final stages. Back in fourth place, the Factory Yamaha rider put this head down once more, but was unable to further improve his position in the timesheets. He will start tomorrow’s race from fifth row on the grid, from 14th place.