Rossi was impatient to get things going in today’s Q2 session. As soon as the pit lane lights went green he dashed out on track aboard his YZR-M1, but he had to hold back due to traffic on his first lap. Once the nine-time World Champion found himself some clear track space, he settled into tenth position. He went on to improve his time on his third try, but didn’t better his position and held tenth place as he returned to the pits.
The Doctor was back out on track again with five minutes of the shoot-out remaining. Having dropped to 11th place, he put his head down and climbed up to eighth. He gained another position on his fifth attempt. The Italian had one lap remaining after the flag had come out, but he didn’t improve on his 1’30.848s and remained in seventh place, 0.951s from pole. He will start the final showdown from the third row of the grid.
Viñales was not among the first riders to get out at the start of the Q1 session. He lingered in the pit box for a while at the start of the 15-minute session, to be ensured of free space so he could focus on dropping a hot time. His first lap, on a medium rear tyre, put him in third place. As the other riders started to speed up, the local hero was setting personal best sectors on his second flying lap, to move up from 12th to 6th. He was keen on continuing the momentum, but ran wide in the first corner and aborted the lap to return to the box for a soft rear tyre.
He was back on his bike with six minutes left on the clock, determined to further improve on his best time. He moved up from seventh to second, posting a 1’31.030s on his fifth full lap, but was pushed back to third as the times dropped in the final minutes. He had one more try left, but was unable to better his lap time and ended the session in third place, 0.137s from first place in Q1. He will start tomorrow’s race from 13th place on the grid.