Rossi took a little time to get underway at the start of the Q2 heat, but had trouble finding some clear space out on the track, which kept him from pushing to the maximum. By the time he was no longer followed, his tyre had dropped, so he headed back to pit lane after two hot laps for a tyre swap.
With a little less than six minutes left on the clock, he joined the track activities again. He found himself in 12th position, which spurred the Italian on to post some strong laps. His third try resulted in a 1’38.267s, which moved him up to provisional eighth place. He continued to look competitive on his next attempt, as he bettered his personal best time in the first two sectors, but in the end he came just short of making any progress up the rider order. He ended the session in 10th place, 0.614s from first.
Viñales finished the morning session outside the top-10 and had to take part in Q1. After two laps he put his head down and moved up to provisional third place, just outside the top-2, as he had towed a rival over the line with him. Aware that he was not riding alone, the Yamaha rider decided to go back to the pits. Upon his return, he was flashing red and orange sectors, posting a 1’38.349s to promote to second place, which he held on to until the end of the session.
The Spaniard then only had a few minutes to get himself ready for Q2. As nearly all his soft tyres had been used in Q1, he started Q2 on a medium front and rear tyre. This tyre combination improved lap by lap, moving him up to seventh place by his third lap.
With seven minutes remaining the young fighter came back to the box to put in his final soft rear tyre. Heading out a short while later, there was just enough time for him to complete three more flying laps, and he didn’t hesitate to fully open the throttle. As the pace quickened, he clocked a 1’38.281s, improving his time, but not his position. He was unable to move up the rankings in his next two attempts and qualified in 11th place, 0.628s from pole.