Viñales had been consistently strong in all free practice sessions and was keen on putting his speed to the test in Q2. He let most of the riders exit pit lane before he stepped aboard his YZR-M1 to set a flying lap, and posted a 1’48.159s for provisional pole. Knowing the times would drop, the Spaniard kept pushing. He improved his time but found himself in fourth place as he headed back to the pit box for fresh tyres.
With about four minutes remaining, the local hero was back on track. It was not before long that the number-12 rider was setting personal best sectors to take over second place with a 1’47.472s. Unable to get another fast lap in, he ended the session in third place, 0.463s from pole.
Rossi was on the same strategy as his team-mate. With clear space ahead of him on track he got into time-attack mode immediately. He stuck his Yamaha in sixth place on his first try, but the level of the session kept rising. The Italian improved his time on his next lap but was down to tenth place as he ended his first run.
With six minutes left on the clock, the Doctor pulled up to the pit garage for a quick stop before commencing his second run. Pushing 100 per cent, he was flashing all orange sectors on his next attempt, producing a 1’48.015s. It was his last fast lap and it briefly moved him up to fifth. He ultimately finished in sixth place, 1.006s from first.