Yamaha riders to start 1-2-3 at LeMans

From left, Rossi, Vinales and Zarco
From left, Rossi, Vinales and Zarco

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi went all out in an intense 15-minute qualifying session at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit today, that saw the teammates secure the first two slots on the front row for tomorrow's Grand Prix de France.

Having topped FP4, Vinales stepped aboard his YZR-M1 with great confidence at the start of the qualifying session. As one of the last men to leave pit lane, he enjoyed some free track space and went directly on the attack. He took the top spot with his first flying lap, a 1'33.134s, before being pushed back to sixth place when the pace quickened.

With more than seven and a half minutes to go, he came into the pits for a fresh set of rubber. Two minutes later the Spaniard was back on track, now in seventh place in the timings, and had just enough time left for three more hot laps. He put his mind to it and produced a strong 1Â'32.146s for provisional pole, but further underlined his incredible speed with a 1Â'31.994s on his next lap, that earned him his second pole position of the season.

Rossi also flexed his muscles during the 15-minute shoot-out. He was quick to head out to make the most of the time available, but decided to let some chasing riders pass at the end of his first hot lap. He moved up to second place on his third attempt, before heading back to the box with six minutes remaining.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The Italian continued his efforts one and a half minute later, setting another personal best lap that moved him up from fourth to second, despite having to avoid a crash from Jack Miller that happened right in front of him. The Doctor still had some time left for a final push, and improved his time to a 1'32.100s, to keep a strong hold on second place, ahead of Johann Zarco, who made it a full Yamaha front row.

Maverick Vinales
Postion: 1st – Time: 1'31.994 – Laps: 8
It was a tricky qualifying, because the track was not at its best, but anyway our bike is really good here. We knew we could do it, so I just tried to concentrate and push to the best of my ability and bring home the pole position. We have to be really careful with the weather, we also have to pay a lot of attention if we have a flag to flag, a wet race or even on the dry, we still have to improve. We have to work tonight and try to improve for tomorrow.

Rossi happy with 2nd
Rossi happy with 2nd

Valentino Rossi
Postion: 2nd – Time: 1'32.100 – Laps: 8
IÂ'm so happy, because today was the first practice in the dry, so you never know. We modified the setting a bit, and that, together with this track and this asphalt, makes our bike work well. In the end it was a really good qualifying, I think on the first flying lap I was fast, but I reached Jack a bit too early, so I lost a bit of time. It's a shame for missing out on the pole position, but starting from second place is OK for the race.

Qualifying Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'31.994
2 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'32.100
3 ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'32.229
4 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda 1'32.300
5 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'32.493
6 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1'32.726
7 REDDING Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 1'33.119
8 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1'33.399
9 ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 1'33.517
10 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1'33.629
11 MILLER Jack 43 AUS Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1'33.756
12 BAZ Loris 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1'33.955
13 PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'32.415 (Q1)
14 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 1'32.484 (Q1)
15 FOLGER Jonas 94 GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1'32.695 (Q1)
16 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati 1'32.830 (Q1)
17 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1'32.844 (Q1)
18 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1'33.187 (Q1)
19 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 1'33.231 (Q1)
20 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1'33.233 (Q1)
21 LOWES Sam 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1'33.817 (Q1)
22 RABAT Tito 53 SPA Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1'33.875 (Q1)
23 GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1'34.082 (Q1)

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