With over eight minutes left, he was back out, but now in second place, as team-mate Rossi had taken over at the top. Having seen how close the times were whilst he was in pit lane, Viñales was pushing extra hard. The result was a 1‘37.316s to reclaim first by 0.055s, but he wasn‘t done yet. He next lap, a 1‘37.164s, put him 0.135s clear of the rest of the riders and earned him a spot in Q2.
After the relatively easy pass through, the Spanish rider adopted a different strategy in Q2. He waited in the box for a while, to ensure himself of some clear space out on track. However, as he had only one soft rear tyre left, his first stint was done on the medium spec tyres, and he wasn‘t able to challenge for pole.
He made a quick stop to have his last soft rear tyre fitted and made sure he had a little more than five minutes left to put it to good use. His first attempt very briefly put him in third place, but shortly after he was pushed down to fifth. He improved his time on his next attempt, to a 1‘37.114s, 0.234s from first. That result kept him in fifth place on the grid for tomorrow‘s race, in the middle of the second row.
Rossi also had his game face on in Q1. His second flying lap saw him take over at the top of the standings from Viñales, with a 1‘37.371s. On a similar strategy as his team-mate, he headed back to pit lane immediately after.
With around five minutes to go the Doctor was back out, but he didn‘t have the same feeling as he had in the first stint. Though he set two personal best sectors, he was unable to better his times on his next two laps due to traffic and was surpassed in his second position by a late charging rider in the final stages of the session. Rossi ended just 0.072s from a place in Q2 and will start tomorrow‘s race from the 13th position on the grid, on the fifth row.