Third Row Start for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Teammates in Le Mans

Third Row Start for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Teammates in Le Mans

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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.

Both riders 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.

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.

Valentino Rossi

Position: 9th – Time: 1’31.900 – Laps: 8

"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."

Massimo Meregalli

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director

"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. Both riders 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."