Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales showed an encouraging pace on a perfectly sunny first day at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. He completed 39 laps overall in the first two free practice sessions to find a good set-up for his YZR-M1 ahead of Sunday’s Tribul Mastercard GP S.Marino e Riviera di Rimini. The Spaniard finished the day in second place after pushing hard in a hot ‘mini shoot-out’ at the end of FP2.
Viñales is the sole representative of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team this weekend. With Valentino Rossi recovering from injury, the Italian’s side of the garage was decked out with ‘get well soon’ messages and had his two bikes on display.
Viñales, however, shouldered the responsibility with confidence. The 22-year-old made a good start this morning, though suffering from a slight lack of grip, and was quick to find a solid speed around the Misano circuit. He used the 45 minutes of the first free practice to find a good base set-up and took eighth place with a 1’34.592s best lap, 1.036s from first.
The Factory Yamaha rider continued to chip off tenths in various sectors of the track in the afternoon, as he fine-tuned his bike’s setting. Feeling comfortable, he completed a few long runs on used tyres before it was time to join the rest of the MotoGP riders in a provisional ‘time-attack’, as they all aimed for a place inside the top-10 of the combined timesheets. Eager to show his speed, Viñales made a solid improvement over the two sessions when he took more than a second off his morning time. He set a 1’33.236s lap at the end of the FP2 and finished the day in second place in the combined standings, missing out on first position by just 0.005s.
Position: 2nd – Time: 1’33.236 – Laps: 39
“I feel good, because I did many laps on the tyres and that was the work I wanted to do, especially during FP2, getting the tyres to work for the full amount of laps of the race. Honestly, I’m quite surprised that the rhythm was really good and I’m quite happy about how the bike was working. Still we have to improve, because the lap times weren’t as fast as we thought we could do. I’m using the 2018 prototype chassis, because already when I tested in Misano, I felt good and more comfortable on the bike, which is really important for me, as a rider, to be ‘in the flow’. I will continue to use it until the end of the season, because it has been an improvement.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“Today is a bit strange for us, as we are starting the race weekend with just one rider. Nevertheless, we made a positive start to the San Marino GP in the first two practice sessions. This morning, though Maverick was able to find a good pace, we suffered a bit from a lack of grip due to the condition of the track. In the afternoon, the condition improved, so we continued to work on the fine-tuning of the bike and Maverick was able to put in a lot of laps with used tyres to prepare for the race, and his feeling was good. He put in a hot lap at the end of the FP2 session on a new tyre and set the second fastest time, missing out on first place by just 0.005s. This shows we have the speed, but we think we can better the pace even further. There’s still a lot of time for improvements and we are confident that we can make another step tomorrow.”
Zarco and Folger Wrap Up Day 1 at Misano
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders got straight to work under the blazing sun in San Marino today as the 13th round of the World Championship began. Johann Zarco kicked off proceedings by finishing FP1 in 9th, before continuing his efforts in the afternoon to complete the day in 12th with a gap of only 0.683 separating him from the top. Whilst Jonas Folger got up to speed in the morning after completing the first free practice just 0.084 behind his teammate, before his afternoon performance left him 1.091 back from the leading bike.
Position: 12 th – Time: 1’33.914 – Laps: 40
“The first day in Misano was positive and I am happy to experience this track on my Yamaha YZR-M1. It’s not easy because this circuit, as I expected, is quite small for the premier class bikes. Therefore, I tried to complete a lot of laps in order to find the best references for myself and then give some good information to my team so that we could set the bike up well. In the afternoon, it was a shame to finish 12th, but when we analyse the times, we can see that we did ok. Now, I need to stay calm and work with my crew and on myself too so that we can improve tomorrow. There, I aim to prepare for the race but also be ready for qualifying where I hope to end up on the front two rows.”
Position: 17 th – Time: 1’34.322 – Laps: 37
“To be honest, I am not so happy with today. I don’t have a good feeling with the front of the bike at the moment, and I can’t turn or brake in the way that I want to. I had a few moments on the track, but we have to find a solution in order to get the confidence back so that we can get to where we want and need to be. This is the only issue, and now we will work for tomorrow where I am certain that we will improve and then have a strong qualifying.”