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By Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Viñales: slowest in the speed trap, quickest in qualifying

Despite sitting bottom of the speed standings in Q2, the Yamaha rider took pole by neatly two tenths in Qatar

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) proved that top speed isn’t the most important factor when it comes to setting the quickest qualifying lap time around the Losail International Circuit.

The Spaniard clocked in at 329.3 km/h in Q2, 17.1 km/h slower than the fastest man through the speed traps Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), 16.7 km/h slower than Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and 12.7 down on Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) – the latter two riders joining Viñales on the front row.

MotoGP™ Q2 in Qatar: who will be the first poleman of 2019?

“We’ve made some good steps forward with the bike. We still need to keep working because still, we have to improve the last corner, the exit of the last corner,” explained Viñales after qualifying, indicating Yamaha need to work on acceleration.

“So, if tomorrow we can improve the exit of the last corner we’re going to be ready to fight in the race,” continued the Qatar GP pole sitter. “We need to keep working, head down and keep pushing. Yamaha understands my feelings much, much better than last year and I think we are building up a bike to fight and that’s the most important thing. I think they understand the way to go and that for me is very important because I feel confident inside the team.”

Understandably, the number 12 rider is feeling confident ahead of the first race of the season. But he knows he’ll be in for a tough battle come Sunday evening.

Viñales: "We are building a bike to fight"

“I will push my best, honestly. No fear. I will go for it, you know. We have to push, it’s time to push, I feel good with the bike. No matter the result we need to keep working, be constant. Last year it was very tricky for me because I couldn’t do good lap times but this year I can already hit good lap times, I can stride away, I can be very fast.

“It’s going to be really difficult to pull away. I really wish I can because then it’ll be better for me but I think there’ll be five, six riders battling in the front in the first laps and then let’s see at the end of the race. But if I can get to the front, I will put the head down and push, push, push and see what happens. The bike is ready.”

And what if it comes down to a three-way run to the line between himself, a Ducati and a Honda?

“Sure, if I don’t have a gap they’re going to overtake me before the finish line. So, I will plan. I will plan tonight what I can do. For sure, my first plan is to go out and push. But we will see.”

We will also see how Round 1 of 2019 pans out when the premier class go racing at 20:00 local time (GMT+3). Don’t miss any of the action! 

Hear the first words of the VisitQatar front row

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