Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales were keen to get reunited with their YZR-M1s today at the start of the Buriram MotoGP Official Test. The teammates were back on track to build on the results from the three-day Sepang test held a few weeks ago.
The first day of testing at the Chang International Circuit was a special occasion for Rossi, who celebrates his 39th birthday today, but he wasn’t having a lie-in. He entered the track at 10:14am local time, eager to make it a memorable occasion.
The Doctor completed 74 laps in total, which he used to re-assess various items he had tried earlier at the Sepang test. Though his focus was on analysing his bike’s behaviour, he still managed to enjoy his birthday, doing what he loves most. The Italian wrapped up the first day in eighth place with a best lap time of 1’31.189s, set on lap 68, 0.392s from the front.
Viñales made his typical early bird start as the second pre-season test got underway at 9:30am local time. As this is the MotoGP field’s first time trying the Buriram track, the Spaniard didn’t waste a second to make full use of the opportunity. He fine-tuned his bike’s settings in the morning, working on his pace and corner entry, before taking a break at 01:30pm.
The young gun continued his efforts later in the afternoon. He completed 70 laps in total. In the final hour of testing, he set his fastest time of the day, a 1’31.294s on lap 67, for 11th place, 0.497s from the top of the standings.
Position: 8th – Time: 1’31.189 – Laps: 74
“The last three or four years, I think I always rode the M1 on my birthday. From one point of view it’s a bit difficult, because you have to work, but from another point of view this is the best way to spend my birthday, riding the M1. It’s hard work, as always, especially as at this track we’re very close. The first impression is not so bad, especially with the track I expected maybe worse, but it’s quite good. We have to work a lot, especially on acceleration.”
Position: 11th – Time: 1’31.294 – Laps: 70
“We’ve been trying a lot of things with the bike all day long, like we did in Malaysia. We haven’t found the right way yet, but anyway we have still time to work hard and find the best direction to work in. I like the track a lot, it fits my riding style quite well with these flowing corners. Like I said, we have to continue working, so I couldn’t push, but I think that on the first day we have to be relaxed, try to work and find out some things to try for tomorrow.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“We’ve been very impressed with the track and the facilities of the Buriram circuit, it’s very different from what we imagined it to be. Trying a new track for the first time is always exciting. We had quite an intense programme ahead of us, but we didn’t have the start we hoped for. We weren’t expecting to have such a difficult day, because it looks like this track should suit us well. The riders were suffering from different problems and this doesn’t help us find a common solution. Nevertheless, we have two more working days to fix the issues and make the riders feel more comfortable.”