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Vinales on Pole

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales showed an encouraging pace on a perfectly sunny first day at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. He completed 39 laps overall in the first two free practice sessions to find a good set-up for his YZR-M1 ahead of Sunday’s Tribul Mastercard GP S.Marino e Riviera di Rimini. The Spaniard finished the day in second place after pushing hard in a hot ‘mini shoot-out’ at the end of FP2.

Viñales is the sole representative of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team this weekend. With Valentino Rossi recovering from injury, the Italian’s side of the garage was decked out with ‘get well soon’ messages and had his two bikes on display.

Viñales, however, shouldered the responsibility with confidence. The 22-year-old made a good start this morning, though suffering from a slight lack of grip, and was quick to find a solid speed around the Misano circuit. He used the 45 minutes of the first free practice to find a good base set-up and took eighth place with a 1’34.592s best lap, 1.036s from first.

The Factory Yamaha rider continued to chip off tenths in various sectors of the track in the afternoon, as he fine-tuned his bike’s setting. Feeling comfortable, he completed a few long runs on used tyres before it was time to join the rest of the MotoGP riders in a provisional ‘time-attack’, as they all aimed for a place inside the top-10 of the combined timesheets. Eager to show his speed, Viñales made a solid improvement over the two sessions when he took more than a second off his morning time. He set a 1’33.236s lap at the end of the FP2 and finished the day in second place in the combined standings, missing out on first position by just 0.005s.

Marc Marquez will start from the front row in tomorrow’s, knowing that he has a good pace to fight at the front. Marc had been the quickest rider in the FP3 session, and the second fastest in FP4. During qualifying, he recorded his fastest time on his first flying lap but a crash during his second exit prevented him from improving upon it. He finished in third, just 0.197” off pole position.

Dani was eighth in FP3, and progressed to sixth in FP4 before recording the seventh-quickest lap time in qualifying, just over half a second down from the top.

The weather forecast indicates the possibility of thunderstorms and a drop in temperature for tomorrow’s race, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. local time.

Maverick Viñales: “I feel good, because I did many laps on the tyres and that was the work I wanted to do, especially during FP2, getting the tyres to work for the full amount of laps of the race. Honestly, I’m quite surprised that the rhythm was really good and I’m quite happy about how the bike was working. Still we have to improve, because the lap times weren’t as fast as we thought we could do. I’m using the 2018 prototype chassis, because already when I tested in Misano, I felt good and more comfortable on the bike, which is really important for me, as a rider, to be ‘in the flow’. I will continue to use it until the end of the season, because it has been an improvement.”

Marc Marquez: “All in all we’re satisfied with the result. In qualifying you always push more than usual, but honestly, on that lap during the second exit I had already slowed a little bit because I had touched the red part of the asphalt in the fast corner. Then I went a little wide and I touched the white line and lost the front. It was my mistake because we had the possibility of trying to go for the pole, but it’s okay; we’re on front row, our pace for tomorrow is good, and we’re happy with that. Tomorrow the track temperature will probably be different, lower than today, and to make the correct rear-tyre choice will be a key point for the race. We’re basically fine with more than one option, and we’ll try to manage every situation well.”

Dani Pedrosa: “Today was a more difficult day than yesterday, as we weren’t able to find the perfect feeling with the bike. We tried to work and improve the setup, especially the suspension settings, but I wasn’t able to get comfortable enough and ride as I wanted. Therefore, in qualifying I didn’t do a super lap time and was only able to manage the seventh fastest time, which is not what we were expecting today. Anyway, tomorrow we’ll try to put together everything we’ve learned over the weekend and to be as fast as possible, even in case of rain. We’ll concentrate on the start, and on the first laps of the race which will be very important.”

MotoGP Qualification

1 Vinales Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’32.439
2 Dovizioso Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 0.162
3 Marquez Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 0.197
4 Crutchlow Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 0.329
5 Lorenzo Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team 0.353
6 Zarco Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 0.446
7 Pedrosa Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 0.553
8 Petrucci Danilo 9 ITA Octo Pramac Racing 0.558
9 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 0.710
10 Bautista Alvaro 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 0.978
11 Pirro Michele 51 ITA Ducati Test Team 1.052
12 Abraham Karel 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1.935
13 Barbera Hector 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 1’33.920 Q1
14 Miller Jack 43 AUS Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’33.933 Q1
15 Baz Loris 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing 1’33.946 Q1
16 Folger Jonas 94 GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’33.987 Q1
17 Espargaro Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’34.080 Q1
18 Rabat Tito 53 SPA Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’34.095 Q1
19 Redding Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing 1’34.132 Q1
20 Rins Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’34.138 Q1
21 Iannone Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’34.148 Q1
22 Smith Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’34.507 Q1
23 Lowes Sam 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’35.659 Q1

HRC and Yamaha releases