Viñales Earns Pole As Wet Conditions Put A Damper On Qatar Qualifying

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team leave the Losail International Circuit this evening without being able to ride, due to track conditions being too dangerous, but captured its first pole position of the 2017 MotoGP season.

Doha (Qatar), 25th March 2017
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team was disappointed to be unable to head out of the pit box on the third day of the Grand Prix of Qatar weekend. Due to heavy thunder and rain last night and this morning, standing water at the Losail International Circuit didn’t allow any track action to take place today. Riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were looking forward to getting a feel for the conditions in an extra 20-minute Free Practice session, before putting a final hand to their bikes' race settings in FP4 and entering the Q2. However, safety concerns caused by the mixed track conditions, standing water at places where the riders are at maximum lean angle, and the reflection of the glaring flood lights on wet tarmac caused the additional practice session to be cancelled. With the weather remaining uncertain, the teammates had no other option than to wait for either a dry race line to form, so they could go out on slicks, or for the rain to start in earnest, allowing them to put on the wets. When there was still no sign of improvement in the weather conditions and the state of the track after 20:15pm (GMT+3) Race Direction was forced to call off all action for the evening. With no track-action being done today by any of the MotoGP riders, Viñales and Rossi have secured first and tenth place on the grid respectively, based on their placement in the combined Free Practice 1-3 results. They now look forward to return to the Losail International Circuit tomorrow to continue proceedings, starting the 30-minute warm-up session at 16:50 (GMT+3) and the race at 21:00 (GMT+3).
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director
"This is a very disappointing turn of events, not just for us, but for everyone involved and especially the fans, who are looking forward to starting off the season in full force. However, there was nothing to be done about today’s situation. With the circuit surface not being suitable for either wet or dry tyres, the best cause of action is to cancel the qualifying sessions and continue the normal racing schedule tomorrow. It’s a pity that we couldn’t use today’s session time to our advantage, but on the bright side we get to congratulate Maverick with his first MotoGP pole position at only his first Grand Prix weekend with Yamaha. The decision touse the combined free practice standings is less fortunate for Valentino, who will start from tenth place, but we know his great capacity to cut through the field during the race. Tomorrow the warm-up session will be crucial to prepare for the race, because for sure the conditions of the track will be completely different than at the start of the event."
Maverick Viñales - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider
"The conditions were tricky today and finally I think they made the right decision, because it was totally impossible to ride. The conditions were mixed, there was a lot of water on the track, so I think they made the correct call. In the end, we didn’t ride for the show, but rider safety comes first. Today it wasn’t hard to stay focused, I was in the box the whole time. Seeing the images, it would be difficult to go out on track with that much standing water, so I was trying to stay focused in case we would go out and try, but it was better that we didn’t try it today, because it was quite tricky. We will try to check our race pace and the bike in the warm-up, try to get a good feeling and the best confidence with the bike going into the race."
Valentino Rossi - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider
"For us, personally - we are a little bit slow and behind – sohaving less time on track is a problem, but that’s the way it is. We couldn’t do it any other way, because the track didn’t have the conditions required for us to try. I think in a full wet or dry session I could have improved my position on the grid, which is the bigger problem, because I’m in the fourth row. To modify the bike, we will have a half-hour warm-up tomorrow. Even though it isn’t exactly held in the night, we will try to understand and afterwards we will discover if I'll have enough pace to make it a good race."

Source : Yamaha Motor Racing Srl.