Third Row Start for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Teammates in Le Mans2018-05-19 16:39
A red hot qualifying session at the Le Mans - Bugatti Circuit track resulted in both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates securing places on the third row of the grid for the Grand Prix de France. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed competitive speed in Q2, flashing various red sectors, but were unable to ride the perfect lap they had in mind. They secured eighth and ninth place respectively.
Viñales was the second to last rider to leave pit lane at the start of the 15-minute shoot-out. His first flying lap temporarily put him in third place, behind Johann Zarco and Rossi for a provisional Yamaha 1-2-3, until a late starting rider pushed him down one place. The Spaniard went on to improve his time on the next two laps, but still found himself in ninth place as he headed into the pits with more than six minutes remaining.
The young Yamaha-rider soon commenced his second time-attack. He meant business, setting a fastest time in S1 and moved up to seventh place. He again picked up the pace on his next attempt, clocking a 1'31.784s lap, but he didn‘t improve his position in the rankings. He finished Q2 in eighth place, 0.599s from the front.
Rossi was unhurt after a fall in FP4 and was quick to exit the pit box for qualifying, knowing that every second counts. His first hot lap put him in second place. Fully in the flow, he continued his challenge. He produced two fastest sectors on the next lap but wasn't able to hold the advantage, and thus bettered his time but not his place. He was in eighth position as he and his teammate returned to the pit box.
Two minutes later the Italian re-entered the track. Despite improving his best time on the next two hot laps, he couldn't find the right feeling and was unable to fight for the top spot. He qualified in ninth place, with a best lap of 1‘31.900s, 0.715s from first, and will be joining Viñales on the third row of the grid tomorrow.
The extended imagery of today's Qualifying session is available on
After the strong FP3 session this morning, today's Q2 results were not what we had hoped for. We knew that the qualifying session was going to be full-on, but nevertheless we expected to be a bit higher up the order. Maverick and Vale will both be starting from the third row, which is always a challenge, but since their race pace is quite strong I think they can still fight for good results tomorrow. Tonight we will assemble the data from today's sessions and prepare some setting updates that we can test in tomorrow's warm up, even though we won‘t be making any big changes as the track conditions will be completely different in the afternoon. Tomorrow morning we‘ll also make our final decision on which tyres to use for the race.
My race pace is good when it‘s cold, but when it‘s hot it‘s more difficult to keep up that rhythm. I‘m not exactly sure what my best potential is for tomorrow. It will be hard to repeat our performance from last year, but I will do my best. This morning was really good, I enjoyed the bike and was pushing on every lap, but this afternoon the track conditions were different, it was impossible to do the same lap times. I expected 1‘31-low laps, because in the morning I did 1‘31‘s easily. It‘s going to be a difficult race, but we‘re going to try to score the maximum amount of points. There's still the warm up left to improve for the race. I don‘t know which tyre I‘m going to use yet, but I have a good rhythm with both.
We tried something in the afternoon, but unfortunately I made a small mistake and I crashed, but my pace is not so bad. When we put in the new tyre I expected to go faster. In the last lap I also made a mistake, but the main problem is that the others are faster. We'll continue work tomorrow to arrive on the pace and we will try to make the right tyre choice. I will try to push to the maximum to be inside the top-5. After the first three, there are three or four riders with the same pace as me. It will all depend heavily on tomorrow‘s conditions, the start, and the first few laps, so we‘ll see.
LINKS & DOWNLOAD
Grand Prix of France - FP3 Results
Grand Prix of France - Combined Free Practice Results (FP1 + FP2 + FP3)
Grand Prix of France - FP4 Results
Grand Prix of France - Qualifying Results
1. J. ZARCO MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1'31.185
2. M. MARQUEZ REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1'31.293
3. D. PETRUCCI ALMA PRAMAC RACING 1'31.381
4. A. IANNONE TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1'31.454
5. A. DOVIZIOSO DUCATI TEAM 1'31.553
6. J. LORENZO DUCATI TEAM 1'31.590
7. J. MILLER ALMA PRAMAC RACING 1'31.683
8. M. VIÑALES MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1'31.784
9. V. ROSSI MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1'31.900
Source: Yamaha Motor Racing
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