Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales continued his good feeling from the Misano Test at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli today. The number-12 rider left a strong impression, securing first position in the FP2 and combined Friday free practice timesheets. Valentino Rossi also got a lot of work done in the perfectly sunny two sessions, ending the day in fourth place.
Viñales enjoyed a positive start to his San Marino GP campaign. He set a 1’35.715s first flying lap for provisional second place. He gradually improved his time, setting a 1‘33.599s at the end of that same run, which kept him inside the top 3 for the entire duration of the session. With a good lap in the bag, the Yamaha man used the remaining FP1 time for two further runs in which he improved in sector one, two, and four. He ended the session in third place, 0.446s from first.
The Spaniard kept his usual focus in the afternoon. Showing the same competitive pace he had in the morning, he took a top-2 spot early on in the session again and then continued working on his bike‘s set-up. Thanks to this tweaking, he was able to post three 1‘32s laps in the last-minute showdown. He dropped a 1‘32.775s lap for first place both in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, with a 0.057s advantage over his closest rival.
The grandstands of the Misano track were already filled with fans eager to see their hero Rossi in action. However, the Doctor had a lot on his plate in the morning, focusing on confirming the feedback on testing items used at the Misano Test. He clocked multiple 1‘34s laps, but also had five of them cancelled. His best lap, set on run two, a 1‘34.182s, put him in ninth place, with a 1.029s margin to first.
The Italian had the goal to get higher up the rankings in the afternoon, for a solid placement within the combined free practice top 10. Motivated by the cheers of the fans, both in the paddock and from the grandstands, he found a way to climb up the FP2 order. He saved the best for his last run, posting a 1‘33.470s on his first flying lap on soft-soft tyres in the final minutes of the session. The lap put him in fourth place in the combined and FP2 results, 0.695s from today‘s fastest time, set by his team-mate.
After today’s positive results, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team take this moment to reminisce on a special race that happened 55 years ago today. On 13 September 1964, British racing icon Phil Read won his fifth 250cc race of the season aboard the Yamaha RD56, at the Monza circuit in Italy, taking Yamaha to their first World Championship victory.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“Honestly, today I tried to keep the good feeling from the test going, because we worked in a really good way. For sure it was very difficult because the track was very slippery today, but somehow I was still able to hit the lap times, so I’m quite happy and enthusiastic for that reason. Anyway, there’s still a lot of work to do. For sure we, with two or three riders, are a little bit ahead of the competition, but they will come to our level, so we need to keep working and see what we can improve. The track felt difficult today because it’s very slippery, especially on the initial laps on the tyre, but we’ll see. We only tried the medium tyre, never the hard or a long run on the softs, so tomorrow we will see more properly.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“Today the Yamaha feels very fast, also with different configurations between us and the Petronas team for example. It looks like our bike is very competitive, we have good grip and good acceleration, and this is so positive. For me personally we still have a lot of work to do, because I don’t feel fantastic with the balance, with the setting. I need a bit more grip, but it’s a good Friday and to have all the Yamahas in front is great, so we will try to continue like this.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“The test here in Misano two weeks ago served as a basis for the work we focused on today. We were able to confirm the data we collected back then by trying some of the testing items once more. During the test, we also saw that the Yamaha is strong in Misano, but at the same time we knew from last year‘s race that we suffer from quite severe tyre degradation in hotter temperatures here. Today we had hot conditions, so this allowed us to tackle this issue. This is important, because we expect the race to have similar weather conditions on Sunday: hot and sunny. The work we‘ve done today had a very positive outcome because the bike is competitive, even with today’s slippery track conditions. We have Maverick topping the timesheets early on in the weekend and Vale is also within the top 4. This is a good starting point, though naturally we‘ll keep pushing our hardest for bigger and better things.”