Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were back in action today at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto for the first day of the Jerez MotoGP Official Test. They continued to compare the new engine evolution, taking 4th and 17th place respectively in today’s rankings.
The riders had to be patient at the start of the eight-hour session. The cool track conditions made for a two-and-a-half hour wait before they could put their YZR-M1s to work.
Viñales was joined in the pit box by new crew chief Esteban García for the first time today. Once the track was sufficiently warm, they decided to work on race pace and making a lot of kilometres as preparation for the 2019 season. The Spaniard soon found a good rhythm and he comfortably began chipping away at his time, while leaving the base setting the same. With a bit more than an hour left on the clock, he decided to pick up the pace. He soon posted a best lap of 1’38.376s to temporarily take over the top of the standings.
At the end of the session the times dropped and the number 12 rider was pushed back to third. He couldn’t resist to make a last push on his final three-lap stint, bringing his total to 58 laps, but he still ended the day in fourth position, 0.408s from the front.
Rossi joined the track just before 1pm today, eager to further improve the acceleration, the smooth power delivery of the engine, and the overall performance of his Yamaha. The Doctor had set himself the objective to only focus on the testing and got straight to work. He completed 50 laps in total, which he solely used to compare the new engine specs and new Michelin tyres.
Though the Doctor put a halt to one of his late afternoon runs, he was able to finish today’s testing programme. His best lap, a 1’39.564s set on lap 28, put him in 17th place in today’s standings, 1.596s from first.
Position: 4th – Time: 1’38.376
“We tried the same engine as we used in Valencia, to try to understand which way we should go. This track is even more difficult for us than Valencia, there it’s easier to make a good lap time, so I’m quite happy that today we were so consistent with many laps on the tyre. The track was a bit slippery for our bike today, but the M1 was working well, so I think the decision is more or less made, but we still have to check. I prefer riding with more engine brake, because for my riding style it helps a lot. I’m quite curious to see what happens tomorrow when we start modifying the set-up a little. Let’s see if we can be more competitive. I think we can still improve the electronics and the base set-up a lot, because the bike works a bit different now and it permits me to enter the corner faster, so we need to change the setting, because I can ride more naturally now. It was a good first day with Esteban. It was good to reconnect, he’s a really calm person, so we work well together. We were on top for a while today, so I’m happy.”
Position: 17th – Time: 1’39.564
“At the end my position in the timesheets is really bad, also because we had some problems with the new tyres, so I didn’t do a time-attack. My pace is a little bit better, but I have to check the data more thoroughly. We continued to test the engine, we made some comparisons. The direction to go in and the decision is quite clear. I started riding on new tyres, but at one point I heard a strange noise, so I stopped. I sincerely don’t know what happened yet.”
Super Sixth for Morbidelli on First Day of Jerez Test
The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team kicked off a two-day test at Jerez today, their final track outing of 2018 before the winter break. After their promising debut with the Yamaha YRZ-M1 at Valencia, Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo continue their adaptation at the Spanish track and continue to improve their feeling.
Morbidelli was again one of the surprise packages on the timesheets at Jerez as he continued with his good form on the Yamaha. The Italian rider completed 70 laps and was third fastest with an hour and a half of the session remaining, before eventually dropping to sixth with his best lap of 1’38.659. Quartararo completed 59 productive laps, the young Frenchman continuing his early work on setting up a MotoGP bike. More comfortable with every outing, Fabio finished sixteenth fastest with a 1’39.414 and is convinced he can make further improvements tomorrow.
The second and final day will see action from 10am to 6pm local time, before the MotoGP grid sign off until 2019.
Position: 6th – Time: 1’38.659
“I am very happy with today. We have backed up the good feeling from Valencia at a different circuit, which is not as suited to the characteristics of our bike as other tracks. It has been a good day in terms of our speed, we have to improve our consistency but the feeling on new tyres was good. We have to work out what else we can improve and I also have to keep learning but it’s a case of ‘so fast, so good’. Today we basically focused on working with the electronics at this circuit, especially on our first runs. We also tried some set-up changes but nothing really new compared to last week.”
Position: 16th – Time: 1’39.414
“Today we took another step forward in terms of corner speed, in comparison with Valencia, which is important. Now we need to analyse corner by corner where we are losing the most time – some in the exit, some in the entry – and see from the data what we can work on. The important thing is that we are improving and especially here at one of the most difficult circuits on the calendar, where I have not ridden a MotoGP bike before. I am really happy with today and I hope we can continue improving tomorrow. We have saved some new tyres with the second day’s work in mind.”