Alcañiz (Spain), 23 Sept. 2017: Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team completely turned its fortunes around on the second day at the MotorLand Aragón circuit. Maverick Viñales delivered the goods exactly when it mattered, securing pole position for the second time in a row. Valentino Rossi gave a staggering performance and rode his bike to a brilliant third place, while still recovering from his leg injury.
Repsol Honda rider and reigning world champion, Marc Marquez and his teammate Dani Pedrosa qualified in fifth and sixth places, respectively, and will start side by side on Sunday from the second row together with fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, adds a Repsol Honda release.
The Repsol Honda men were fast in the dry today, as they had been yesterday in the wet. Marc was first in FP3 and third in FP4, and set the provisional fastest lap in his first attempt in qualifying. A crash at turn 12 during his second flying lap prevented him from fighting for the pole.
Following a strong closing stage to FP4, where Viñales secured first place, the Spaniard was in a good mindset to fire his YZR-M1 over the Spanish track during the 15-minute shoot-out. He was the second to last man out of the gates in Q2 and found some clear space when he appeared on track. He only needed a little bit of time to get up to speed, setting the provisional second fastest time on his second try, before heading back to pit lane to get a fresh set of tyres, with more than six and a half minutes on the clock.
Once back on the track, he was in the zone. The youngster, who was riding with a new design helmet to celebrate his home GP this weekend, put his head down again and posted a 1‘47.635s to take over the top spot from his teammate, with 1m40s still on the clock. He had time for one more attempt, but his previous lap remained unbeaten, earning him his fifth pole of the season so far, with a 0.100s-advantage over his closest rival.
Rossi rode a superb FP3 session, securing tenth place, to promote directly to Q2 just 23 days after breaking his right leg. In the qualifying session the Italian steadily build up speed over his two first tries, but was unable to breach into the low 1‘48s just yet. He held tenth place as he headed to the box, with slightly more than seven minutes to go.
A little while later, the Doctor was back in action and immediately dropped an impressive 1‘47.815s for provisional pole, but was soon pushed down the order as various riders completed their last attempt. Rossi ended the day in third position, just 0.180s behind his teammate in first race.
Maverick Vinales says: The conditions were a little bit more difficult compared to this morning, to make a good lap, but anyway the team did a great job so I‘m really happy. Every time we‘re doing better qualifications and we‘re more consistent on the bike. I hope we can keep these good feelings, especially before the race tomorrow. We have been improving a lot since the Misano test. The dry bike has good potential and rides well all the time, but we have to improve in the rain, so we‘re keeping that in mind, in order to be consistent. Honestly, it‘s incredible what Valentino did today, I have no words. He always delivers great results and it‘s positive that Valentino is also fast, because we can see things on the bike and compare the data for tomorrow.
Valentino Rossi after taking the first row says: I think we did a great job after sustaining the injury. I have to thank all the people that helped me, starting with the doctor that did the surgery. After that I worked very hard every day with my trainer and the leg is becoming better every day. Sincerely, on the bike I feel some pain, but I can ride quite comfortably, so I‘m very happy. It‘s very important to start from the front row and now we have to understand the pace and also if I‘m able to push until the end, but anyway I‘m happy.
eom/Movistar Yamaha Press Release with other inputs