Mixed conditions and the associated lack of grip at the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit formed the main challenges for Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales on Saturday, however the youngster gave a solid performance in uncertain conditions to secure sixth place on the grid for Sunday‘s Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina in his very first qualifying session on the Yamaha. (Qatar was rained out)
Viñales was excited to embark on his first time attack on the Yamaha with the intention to push to the limit in the tricky conditions.
After waiting for most of his rivals to have left their box during the 15-minute shoot-out, he charged towards the pit lane exit, ready to make full use of some clear space on track. Though he was held back due to rear grip issues, the 22 year-old wasn‘t shy to open the throttle and consistently improved his times over the first three flying laps.
He sat in fourth place when he made a short pit stop with five minutes remaining. A minute later the Spaniard was back on his mission to move up from seventh place, trying to put his YZR-M1 in the top spot. He had just enough time for one hot lap and clocked a 1‘49.218s, 1.706s from first.
This personal best lap was enough to secure him sixth place on the grid for his second race start with Yamaha.
“I‘m not disappointed. We struggled a bit with the rear grip and I don‘t know why,” he said. “I felt some strange sliding on the wet, completely different than on the dry, so we have to analyse it. I think we still have to work. It was the first time I went out on the Yamaha in the rain, so there is a lot of work to do on the wet set-up, but I‘m happy. In the end, I‘m the first Yamaha and Valentino is always really fast on the wet, so I‘m quite satisfied and confident. It‘s only the second row. From there I can have a good start and also contend for the victory tomorrow.”