Viñales got straight down to business during the 15-minute session, setting a 1‘40.007s on his first hot lap for provisional pole. He followed it up with another two fast first sectors but had to abandon his try in S3. As a result, he dropped to seventh place on returning to the pit box for a fresh set of tyres, but the Spaniard‘s challenge was far from over.
After a two-minute stop he headed back out for his second run. The timing was perfect: as most of the rider field was just heading into pit lane, he had a clear track in front of him. The home rider wasn‘t able to further improve his time on his next attempt, yet he remained determined to make his fans proud and set three red sectors on the following lap. It resulted in a 1‘39.710s, his best of the session, to briefly take first again. But, as other riders completed their fastest efforts, he ended in third place, 0.226s from first.
Rossi started his time attack a little after his team-mate, letting half of the other Q2 challengers exit pit lane ahead of him. He gradually got into the groove. His first hot lap put him in tenth place and his next moved him up to sixth, before the Doctor really got his head down. He improved his time but not his ranking and held sixth place as he headed to the pits with five and half minutes remaining.
Less than a minute later he was back out and didn‘t let any time go to waste. He soon set a 1‘39.753s for fifth place. Though he had one more lap left, he was unable to top his earlier time and ended the session remaining in fifth, 0.269s from first.
Following the Q2 session, Race Direction imposed a penalty of three grid positions on Viñales for being slow on the racing line and disturbing another rider. Viñales will start tomorrow’s race from P6, whilst Rossi moves up to P4.