Maverick Vinales says a dashboard message sent by his Movistar Yamaha squad alerted him to Tito Rabat taking a tow off him as he edged through the first qualifying session to set-up his front row charge.
In the closing laps of Q1 Vinales was being followed by Avintia Ducati’s Rabat who was aiming to gain from the Yamaha rider’s slipstream up the long straight. Vinales was alerted to Rabat’s position by his team via a dash message, as permitted within MotoGP rules, and bailed out of his final Q1 lap to deny his fellow countryman a tow.
The tactic worked as Vinales progressed along with Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller, edging out Rabat by just 0.102s, which saw the Yamaha rider progress to Q2 and power his way to a front row start alongside teammate and pole-sitter Valentino Rossi and Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo .
“Luckily, if he took the slipstream I would not be in third,” Vinales said. “Luckily the team sent me the message to give up on the lap which I think was the key to being on the front row.”
Vinales missed out on a top 10 spot in FP3, forcing him into Q1, which the Spaniard says was caused by a wrong set-up change to his YZR-M1 but feels the issue was rectified before FP4 which gives him renewed confidence at Mugello.
“This morning went quite bad so I didn’t expect to be in the first row because in the morning I couldn’t improve the lap time from yesterday,” he said. “We worked hard in the garage and we know where we had the problems and where we struggled a lot.
“In FP4 we seemed to have a big step, especially with the rhythm on the used tires, and in qualifying in Q1 it was difficult and in Q2 I used one medium and then another soft. Maybe it wasn’t the best combination but I felt good on the bike and the team is working better every day.
“It is a tough moment but we have never given up and when I have confidence I can be at the front.”