Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi improved their feeling at the Autodromo del Mugello on Day 2 but struggled to make the results materialise during qualifying. They will start tomorrow‘s Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley from 7th and 18th place respectively on the grid.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales put up a fight in a hot Q2 and secured 7th place on the grid for tomorrow‘s Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley. Valentino Rossi aimed to battle his way through Q1 after finishing outside the combined top-10 results in this morning's FP3 session, but couldn't find the pace he was looking for. He will be starting the race from 18th position.
Viñales showed he had a strong pace, especially in sectors 1-3. He was keen on putting his agility to good use in the Q2 session and immediately positioned his YZR-M1 in fourth place on his first flying lap. He was pushed down a couple of positions soon after, but only briefly, as he responded by clocking a 1 minute 46.181 seconds to take second place.
With more than six minutes remaining he was back in the pit box for a fresh set of tyres. There was a 0.336 second-gap to bridge to snatch pole, so the Spaniard set out to give it another go. When he didn‘t improve on his next try, he was lying in fifth place. He gritted his teeth and set three personal best sectors but again couldn‘t better his time, taking seventh on the grid for tomorrow's race, 0.662 second from first.
Rossi had to contest in Q1, after only just missing out on a place inside the top-10 in this morning‘s FP3 session. The local hero let the majority of the riders go out ahead of him and also held back on his first flyer, so he had plenty of clear space on track to put in a hot lap on his second attempt, moving up from 11th to 7th.
The Doctor hurried into the pits with seven minutes on the clock. Two minutes later he was back on the track and after his sighting lap he, in theory, had just enough time left for two more tries. However, the Italian wasn‘t able to improve his time on his next go and just fractionally missed the opportunity to get another lap in. With other riders completing their final laps, he was pushed back to eighth place. He finished 0.906 second off the fastest Q1 time and will start tomorrow‘s race from P18 on the grid.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales secured a hard-fought sixth place today in a hot and challenging Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley. Valentino Rossi suffered an NC, his first this season, due to an unlucky crash on lap 7.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales showed great stamina and character in today‘s sweltering Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley, riding back from a provisional 12th to take sixth place at the chequered flag. Valentino Rossi was fortunately unharmed but unable to continue after an unlucky fall on lap 7.
Starting from P7, Viñales lost a few positions in the tussle of entering the first corner and settled in twelfth position. After a few laps he gained two places and tucked in behind fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo, hoping to join the rider group of nine in front.
With relentless focus he reeled them in and tapped them on the back lying in ninth place when Francesco Bagnaia crashed out with 11 laps to go. But soon the group was pulled apart again. The Spaniard, however, used his experience and kept his head cool. Like he predicted yesterday, he managed the tyres and used his great physical fitness to bring a strong challenge to the riders ahead of him in the final stages.
With eight laps to go he gained a place as Jack Miller ended up in the gravel, which was the no.12 rider's cue to start his late charge. Over the next two laps he overtook Quartararo and Crutchlow, moving up to sixth place. With an over 1s-gap to the rival in front of him, the Yamaha man pushed to the max but was unable to inch close enough. He finished sixth, 7.481 seconds from first.
Rossi had a decent start from P18 and, despite the flurry of activity in the busy rider field, gained two positions before crossing the line for the first time. The home hero began his chase, showing good pace, but with 19 laps to go he had to do the work all over again. Having taken 15th from Jorge Lorenzo, he was in the groove but clipped the rear of Joan Mir going into Turn 4 and had to skillfully steer his YZR-M1 through the gravel trap. He rejoined the track in 22nd place.
The Doctor soon moved up a position again as a rival crashed out, but it wasn't to last. Bad luck struck twice when he restarted his hunt. He suffered a crash in Turn 9 with 16 laps to go and was unable to continue his home GP.
Today's unlucky 0-point finish pushed Rossi down to fifth position in the championship standings, with a 43-point gap to first. Viñales‘ sixth place result moves him up from tenth to eighth in the rankings, with a 75-point margin to the top. Yamaha is now fourth in the constructor standings, whilst Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP continues to hold third in the team classification.
The team will be back on the track in two weeks‘ time for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“Naturally we are very disappointed. We knew this weekend was going to be really difficult, but we had higher hopes for our team‘s home GP than the results we got today. We have to give credit to Maverick though. His start was far from ideal, but he fought his way back to sixth, which was realistically the best could do, considering his race pace. Valentino had a nightmare of a day… It was going to be hard starting from 18th on the grid, but the incidents on track ended his race. All in all, it's a GP to forget for him. We as a team, however, will be doing the opposite: we have to learn from this and find something for the next race in Catalunya in two weeks‘ time.”
"Today I struggled a lot. I had no feeling with the bike during the race and the tyres were very slippery. I tried to push in the correct way and manage the tyres in the best way I could, but anyway it wasn't enough. I don't think we should be on the level of getting sixth places, we need to push more. I really don't know what to expect for Montmeló. For sure, during the practices we can be there, but in the race it's a different story. Our bike suffers a lot when we don't have grip. So, we need to keep working to see if we can improve the feeling and take steps forward."
"It was a very difficult weekend, because I was always very slow. We expected to be more competitive, so it was difficult to manage. We also made some mistakes in the practice: I made a mistake in FP3 and because of it I started very far towards the back of the grid. In the race, my pace wasn't fantastic. I tried to overtake Mir, but he tried to defend his position, and unfortunately we touched. Luckily, we didn't crash, but we went onto the gravel. After that I tried to push to recover and I lost the front and crashed, so it's a bad end to a difficult weekend, especially since it's in Mugello. But that's the way it is. We will try to do better."