Viñales started the 15-minute shoot-out with confidence. He fired up his YZR-M1 to briefly top the rankings with his first flying lap, and he was just getting warmed up. His second attempt put him firmly back on top with a 1’20.441s before he headed into the pit box with eight and a half minutes to go.
The Spaniard let the majority of the rider field leave pit lane before him, so he had clear space out on track to defend his provisional pole. Although the youngster was pushing on the three laps he had left, he dropped to fourth in the final four minutes. Unable to improve on his best time he ended the day 0.171s from first.
Teammate Rossi had a more difficult start to the session. He dipped under the 1’21s mark on his second hot lap, setting a 1’20.972s for seventh place, before he decided to return to pit lane.
With less than six minutes remaining, the Doctor began his second run with a fresh set of tyres. Finding himself in eighth place, he knew he had to take it to the next level. The Italian moved up to fifth on his fourth attempt with a 1’20.532s. He had one more shot before the end of the session but didn’t better his time. He finished in sixth place, 0.262s from pole and will join his teammate on the second row of the grid tomorrow.