Positive Pace for Movistar Yamaha in First Silverstone Free Practice Sessions

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Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales kicked off the Octo British Grand Prix showing good form. Making the most of the perfect riding conditions in today’s two free practice sessions, the teammates set up their bikes for Sunday’s race and secured second and third place respectively in the combined times.

Rossi showed a good pace in the morning and was ready to get work done. Wasting no time to test some of the solutions he found in the private test in Misano last week, he soon got into a solid rhythm. The Italian steadily dropped his times to take over third place 15 minutes into the session. He held on to his position, until the times quickened, but the Doctor was swift to respond. He slotted into second with a 2’02.995s lap, directly behind his teammate and focused on fine-tuning his bike in the final 15 minutes, ending the morning session in fifth place, 0.865s from his teammate in first.

The nine-time World Champion also had a positive session in the afternoon. Once again making his intentions known, he held provisional third position before the pace picked up at the end of the session. Finding himself in 11th place, with six minutes to spare, Rossi headed back out to give another push. He set a 2’01.138s on his penultimate lap to take second place, 0.241s from first. His FP2 result earned him the same position in the combined times, ahead of tomorrow’s sessions.

Viñales used FP1 as the first occasion to remind race fans and rivals of his strong form at the Silverstone Circuit. Last year’s British Grand Prix winner started the morning Free Practice session with a competitive pace. He worked diligently on his bike’s settings throughout, making his statement in the final stages after the flag went out. He topped the FP1 standings with a 2’02.130s best time and a 0.519s margin to his closest rival.

The Spaniard gave another strong performance in the second 45-minute session. Directly on the pace, he posted low 2’02s and held on to fifth place until the final minutes. Having been pushed back to tenth position by rivals setting hot laps, Viñales felt encouraged to put his head down in a ‘mini time attack’. He fired up his Yamaha once more and dropped a 2’01.168s to set the third fastest time of the day, 0.271s from the front.

After FP2 the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates successfully completed the test of the new flag-to-flag bike swap procedure with positive thoughts on its possible implementation in the future.

Valentino Rossi

Position: 2nd – Time: 2’01.138 Laps: 34

“It was a good day, because first of all we had fantastic unbelievable weather for Silverstone and the track is in a good condition. Riding the MotoGP bikes on this track in these conditions is a great pleasure, a lot of fun. From the first lap I had a good feeling with the bike and I feel good with the balance, with the setting, so I was quite strong. We have a lot of work, a lot of things to do, but we are quite competitive. About the new procedure, for me it can be OK, but if they modify the rules for the problem in Brno, between Espargaró and Iannone, also with this procedure, it will be exactly the same. It doesn’t change a lot. Later we will go and speak with the Safety Commission and we will see also what the other riders think.”

Maverick Viñales

Position: 3rd – Time: 2‘01.168 – Laps: 32

“I feel good. Honestly, with the race pace we were quite competitive and I felt great on the bike again. I was riding in my own style and it was really nice to be as competitive again as we were at the start of the season. In the time attack I didn’t feel as good, especially with the front. It was the first time I tried the hard tyre, so I was not trusting the bike enough. Anyway, I’m there, so I’m happy and quite confident that we can do a really good job tomorrow. In my opinion the new flag-to-flag procedure is quite good. Later we have to decide with all the riders and Dorna at the Safety Commission, but I think it was quite OK. The space was a lot bigger, so for me it was nice.”

Massimo Meregalli

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director

“We completed a lot of work at the Misano test last week, but we had some question marks about how our new findings would translate at the Silverstone Circuit, which is a track with quite a unique character. So far, we are satisfied with the work we got done in the first two sessions. Both riders felt comfortable on their bikes right from the start of FP1. We tested some different tyres – soft, medium and hard- between the two riders, and we will keep working on that tomorrow, because it will be fundamental to find the right tyre for the race. Both Valentino and Maverick rode consistently fast times and clearly showed that they have good pace and speed, even on used tyres. We ended the day with the quick test to assess the new bike swap procedure. The riders seemed positive about the increase in safety, so we feel it could be an improvement.”

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