Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi will start tomorrow's Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland from the first and fourth row of the grid, having taken third and eleventh place respectively in today's qualifying.
Bright sunshine set the scene at the start of today‘s qualifying sessions at the Sachsenring. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales showed great speed in Q2. Despite not being able to set the perfect hot lap, he took third place, on the front row of the grid. Valentino Rossi had to go through the Q1 session, which he dominated, and took the eleventh starting position for tomorrow‘s Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.
Viñales left the box as soon as the pit lane lights turned green at the start of the Q2 session. He opted for a hard-hard tyre combination on his first of three runs in total, using a two-stop strategy, and was feeling confident of a top-3 result as he had just finished FP4 in first place.
The Yamaha rider‘s first lap put him in fourth position, and he moved up to third on his next try but found himself in fourth place again as other riders completed their efforts. He then returned to the pits to get some fresh rubber, switching to the soft rear tyre.
After the quick stop, the Spaniard was in fifth. Though he was held up behind another rider, he still reclaimed fourth on his next attempt, but it didn‘t last long. Holding fifth place again, he returned to the pits once more to also give the medium front tyre a try.
Knowing how difficult it is to overtake at the Sachsenring, the number-12 rider was determined to get a front row start. He pushed hard and set a 1 minute 20.406 seconds on his penultimate hot lap to briefly take second place and ultimately finished the session in third, 0.211 second from pole.
Rossi missed the top-10 in FP3 by only 0.007 second, meaning he had to take part in Q1 to earn a spot in Q2.
The Doctor let the other riders take a head start, so he could commence his shoot-out without any traffic. He used the medium-hard tyre combination for his benchmark lap, which put him directly into provisional first place. When the pace picked up he was pushed back to third, but the Italian was already on a second fast lap, to take over top billing once more. He improved his time again on lap 3, to a 1 minute 21.236 seconds, before heading to pit lane holding a 0.144 second advantage.
After a quick stop to switch to a soft rear tyre, the Yamaha rider was back on his way. In the final minutes he was pushed back to second place, but the nine-time World Champion had a trick up his sleeve. He posted his first lap under the 1‘21s-mark, a 1 minute 20.933 seconds, at exactly the right moment. He gained the number one spot and held on to it with a 0.169 second advantage until the chequered flag came out.
Unfortunately a crash in the final stages of Q1 meant the crew had a quick repair job to do for the next session. With the help of Maverick's side of the garage, Rossi was able to participate on his first bike. His initial try in Q2 put him in ninth place, but he soon dropped to tenth. He improved his time but not his placement on the next lap and returned to the box.
On his second run he temporarily moved up to eighth with a 1 minute 21.137 seconds, but he was unable to further improve on this time on the next two laps and ended the day in 11th place, 0.942 second from the top.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales delivered a cool-headed performance today, not giving in to the pressure of a stalking rival, and took a well-deserved second place at the Sachsenring. Rossi spent most of the race in a group battling for fourth position but wasn‘t able to make strides. He ended the race in eighth.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales showed his mental strength at the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland today. He had Cal Crutchlow breathing down his neck for half of the race, trying to steal second place from him, but the Spaniard held firm, taking his second consecutive podium. Rossi tagged onto the back of the group fighting for fourth place but struggled to get in the midst of the action. He finished the race in eighth.
Viñales had a good start from third and slotted into second in the first corner. He was going all out in the early laps, as he didn‘t want to let Marc Marquez out of his sight, but tyre management was also crucial. When Álex Rins passed the Yamaha rider on lap four, the latter cleverly stuck to his rival but did not make a move, to ensure the pair of them wouldn‘t lose any valuable time.
However, the number-12 rider was unable to keep up with the low 1 minute 21 seconds-lap pace and soon needed to shift his attention to keeping Crutchlow at bay. With Rins crashing out in lap 19, it turned into a battle for second. The Factory Yamaha man did a stellar job and, after withstanding the pressure for 15 laps, his superb concentration and consistency broke the Brit in the last lap. A small mistake from his rival finally gave Viñales some breathing space to bring his YZR-M1 over the finish line in second place, 4.587 seconds from first.
It was a difficult race for Rossi. Starting from 11th on the grid, he lost one place in the first few corners. However, some early crashers in the opening laps meant he was soon back up to ninth as he picked off Pol Espargaró.
The Doctor maintained this position for a long time in a group of seven riders battling for fifth place, but he wasn‘t quite able to get into the mix of the action. With 14 laps remaining he had to let Joan Mir pass, but as Rins crashed out of the leading group the Italian was soon back up to ninth again. Despite having to contend with tyre degradation in the final stages of the race, he overtook Franco Morbidelli with 9 laps to go and was eager to join the now fight for fourth, but a mistake, with four laps remaining, cost him a couple of tenths. He tried to have another go, but ultimately had to settle for eighth place, 19.110 seconds from the top.
Today's second place means Viñales moves up to fifth in the championship standings with a 100-point gap to first, one position ahead of Rossi, with a 105-point deficit. Yamaha remains third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also stays in third in the team classification.
Viñales and Rossi will now enjoy a three-week summer break, before they start the second half of the MotoGP World Championship with the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, held at the Automotodrom Brno from 2nd-4th August.
“We already predicted yesterday that managing the rear tyre would be key in today‘s race, and that was indeed the case. Maverick had shown good pace here all weekend, so we knew the tyres were performing well, but managing the degradation over the whole length of the race is challenging, especially when under pressure from a chasing rider, like Mack was today. He did a fantastic job. He was very consistent and precise, so this second place is well-deserved. Vale used the medium rear tyre, but it didn't behave like we predicted. We had expected a better consistency, especially in the second part of the race, but it didn't keep up its performance level. Because of this Vale wasn't able to attack at the end of the race. We now have a three-week break which we will use to recharge before we head to Brno, where we will have some things that our riders can try during the test.”
“We discovered quite early this weekend that second place might be the best we could do here, so with that in mind we achieved the objective. For us it's really good, second is my best result here. I started well, I did a good first few laps. This result means a lot, it prepares me for Brno. I'm really happy, we understand the way to go. Yamaha is working in a good way, and I know our strong and weak points. It's good that we have a summer break to improve the bike and improve myself. The tyre choice was very difficult, I took a gamble with the hard because I worked most of the time with this tyre. It was on the limit if I could or could not finish the race, and I said to myself 'If I need to slow down in the last ten laps, I will, but I will be at the front'. I'm very pleased for Yamaha, it's very important to get a consecutive first and second place. I saw Cal on my pit board the whole time and for about fifteen laps I closed every door. I worked very hard on making sure he couldn't overtake me, because I knew if he did, he would go. Luckily I was second, so I'm very pleased and happy. I can't wait for Brno to try out the new things and see if we take a step.”
“I‘m not satisfied because it was a difficult race, I suffered a lot. First of all, we used the medium rear tyre because Michelin said to us that it would be impossible to race with the hard, but I had a lot of sliding and not enough grip, so this was the first problem. The bigger problem was that in Assen in the race I felt strong, so here we tried to confirm it, but in reality I wasn‘t very fast, I didn‘t feel good with the bike. This is a difficult moment, because the last time when we were here, at this part of the championship, I was very competitive. From Le Mans to Sachsenring I did some good races. This year it‘s been a lot more difficult, so we need to get a better understanding, because I don‘t have a great feeling with the bike and I‘m not as fast as we want.”