Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi made the most of the sunny riding conditions and signed off the first day of the Grand Prix of The Americas in first and third place in the combined timesheets.
Viñales was quick to show a strong pace in FP1, securing second place, and raised the level even higher in FP2. Despite feeling some pain in his knee during the rapid direction changes at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) as a result of his fall in Argentina, he was pushing hard to get the bike‘s settings ready for Sunday’s race. He put in an impressive run in the final stages and earned first position in the FP2 and combined free practice results with a 2’03.857s best lap, giving him a 0.044s margin over his closest rival.
Rossi was also feeling encouraged by his strong start this morning, taking a top-5 finish. He worked on fine-tuning his bike‘s balance in the afternoon, only to put his head down once more at the end of the second 45-minute session. The pressure was on to secure a spot in the top-10, as rain is predicted for tomorrow’s FP3, but the Doctor was in control. With two soft tyres on his YZR-M1, he found a quiet spot on the track and dropped a 2’04.003s lap, the third fastest time of the day, 0.146s from his team-mate.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“I think today it was very important to work on the basic set-up, because in Argentina we misunderstood some things. I think we worked quite well here today. I tried to be very competitive, especially on the first laps, but we still have to improve. We have to be more precise in the first laps and I need a little bit more grip, especially on the rear, because I still didn‘t feel that I‘m at my best. It’s important to be at the top today, because I think tomorrow it‘s going to rain, and we need to start at the front. The track is very bumpy. It was funny, when I was pushing I made a big lateral slide, but honestly I was lucky I didn‘t make a big highside. For sure, I‘m expecting to be fast in qualifying. In Valencia I finished at the top in the wet. It‘s true that I also crashed, but I was one of the fastest on the track. I have a good feeling, and when you have a good feeling it doesn‘t matter what the conditions are like.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“Today wasn’t so bad, especially the third position is very good. I did a good lap, and this is very important in order to stay in the top-10. We have some problems with the pace, I’m not fantastic on the race tyre. We have to work on the balance of the bike, but for a first day it’s quite positive. The weather forecast for tomorrow is grim, but we’re hoping it’s wrong. Maybe the weather will be good tomorrow, but if it rains we will all start from zero again. We’ll need to try to understand the conditions and we need to find a good setting for the wet, but anyway we hope to have a dry race on Sunday.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Today was a really positive first day in COTA with both riders, in FP1 as well as FP2. We started where we ended things in Argentina, set-up wise, and we saw that the riders were quite comfortable, and this gave us the opportunity to calmly work and make further improvements in FP2. There are still areas where both riders would like to improve, but for a first day we are quite satisfied. Considering the weather forecast for tomorrow, having both Maverick and Vale in the top-10 is very good. We will now prepare some bike adjustments for tomorrow’s FP3, hoping that it will be dry. Otherwise, we will try to be ready to adapt the bikes to the wet conditions and start from there.”