The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team started work at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today, in preparation for Sunday‘s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. Working on various setting and tyre options, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales took seventh and fifteenth place respectively in the combined rankings.
Rossi needed some time to get up to speed in the morning session, using most of the available 45 minutes working on the balance of the bike. After getting a feel for the track conditions and bike behaviour in his first two runs, he sped up towards the end. He finished FP1 in ninth place with a 1‘41.190s, 0.498s from first.
The temperatures went up to 26°C in the afternoon, setting the scene for a hot paced FP2. The Italian was fast to position his YZR-M1 in second place, but the times of the rider field dropped early on in the session, moving Rossi to thirteenth position. The Doctor worked on his bike’s setting before responding, delivering multiple fast laps in the last ten minutes. His final attempt, a 1‘40.520s, earned him seventh position in the FP2 and combined free practice results, 0.441s from first.
Viñales was eager to make a good impression on his home fans this weekend and was quick to get to work this morning. Despite the somewhat slippery track conditions, he soon found a solid base set-up and race pace and continued to improve his time. He ultimately scored third place with a best lap of 1‘40.872s, 0.180s from first.
In the afternoon the local hero focused on comparing various tyre specs and setting combinations for almost the entire duration of FP2, until switching to the soft-soft tyre option in the final five minutes. His last and only hot lap, a 1‘40.847s, briefly put him in 12th place in the rankings. However, as some late flying laps came in, he was pushed back to 14th place in the FP2 standings and 15th place in the combined timesheets, 0.768s from the top.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“The track is good, I like it a lot and, sincerely, today was a positive day for us, because I felt good with the bike and could ride quite well. My pace is not so bad, and I was able to stay inside the top-10 in the morning and in the afternoon. In FP2 it was already hot, but I didn’t feel so bad. It’s true that it wasn’t very, very hot, so we’ll have to see. The first thing is that we’ll try to improve tomorrow, we still have a lot of work to do. Today we worked well and in the afternoon we were able to improve the bike. The most important thing is to stay inside the top-10 tomorrow morning so we can get into Q2, and after that we’ll see what happens in the afternoon in qualifying.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“The morning was actually quite good, we worked a lot for the race. It seems that the morning was a little bit easier than the afternoon when I struggled more in all areas. We tried many things for the race set-up, but it didn’t help us make the step we thought we would make. However, we still have FP3 to get into Q2, so we are quite calm about it, we can do good lap times. This afternoon we were working really hard for the race, but we’re going to try a different direction in FP4 to see if we can make another step for Sunday. In FP3 we’re going to concentrate on being fast on one lap and getting into Q2. We need to keep working and pushing.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We’ve had a mixed first day in Barcelona. Valentino worked quite strategically on the bike setting in the morning and reaped the fruits of his labour in the afternoon. He’s feeling comfortable on the bike, though we still have areas that we want to work on tomorrow. Maverick was strong in the morning session but didn’t quite have the same feeling in the afternoon. He made some amendments and because of that he had only time for one flying lap. Had he been able to get another lap in on the soft-soft at the end of the session, he probably would have finished higher. Tomorrow, in FP3, we must have both riders in the top-10, and the cooler track conditions should play into our favour. In FP4, we’ll dedicate the available time in the hotter conditions to preparing the race set-up and we also have to work on the tyres, as we weren’t able to test all the specifications yet.”