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Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Climb Learning Curve on Motegi Friday

Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Climb Learning Curve on Motegi Friday

With only one Moto2 free practice session on the Friday, the pressure was on for the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team to find a good set-up early on in changeable weather conditions. Manuel Gonzalez and Keminth Kubo started the FP1 session pushing and ended the day in 17th and 28th place respectively.

The amended Grand Prix of Japan schedule for the Friday meant it was all hands on deck for the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team to give riders Manuel Gonzalez and Keminth Kubo a comfortable bike set-up despite changeable weather conditions. The duo balanced their priorities, using the one 40-minute Friday free practice session to both work on their bike settings and get to know the track on a Moto2 machine. They secured 17th and 28th place respectively.

Completely new to the Motegi track, Gonzalez used FP1 to get familiar with the circuit lay-out, learning the right lines and braking points. The Spaniard is known for his ability to pick this up quickly, and today was now exception. Fifteen minutes into the session, he went into the top 12. With the pace picking up in the second half, he kept at it until four minutes before the end when it started to rain. Manugasss secured 17th place thanks to a 1’52.147s set on lap 14/16.

Kubo showed how happy he was to be back in Asia with a strong start to FP1. He knows the Motegi circuit, and it showed when ten minutes into the session he was holding provisional seventh place. It instilled confidence into the Thai rider. However, with 25 minutes to go of the only Friday Moto2 opportunity to practise, he suffered a small crash that cost him valuable track time. He ultimately ended Day 1 in Japan in 28th place, with a 1’53.422s set on lap 6/10.

Gelete Nieto

Sports Director

"It’s Manu's first experience with the Motegi circuit. He has a good feeling, but we still need to refine the setting of the bike. We need to work especially on the rear part, that moves a lot while exiting the corners. Kubo started the session very well, he was eighth for the first seven laps, then he had a small crash that made him lose a lot of time. He's very confident for tomorrow, especially if it rains as the forecasts predict."

Manuel Gonzalez - P17 (1’52.147)

Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team

"It’s been a difficult first day for us. I tried to learn the track as fast as possible, but it’s been more difficult than I expected. The weather was unstable, and it was raining in some sectors. I was pushing a lot at the end of the session trying to finish in the top 14 because tomorrow it should be raining, but I was not feeling good with the bike. I was sliding a lot and the exit of the corners was not easy to manage. Now I’ll look at the data with my crew in the garage to understand the track better."

Keminth Kubo - P28 (1’53.422)

Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team

"The Motegi circuit is exactly how I remember it! It's nice to ride here. I was quite confident in FP1. I was improving myself lap after lap. I was pushing when I had a small crash that made me lose a lot of time. When I rejoined, I only had few minutes left and the weather was really changeable. Some of the parts on track were wet, others were dry. Anyway, I was quite confident but found some traffic, and I couldn't improve my lap time. The forecasts say tomorrow will bring a lot of rain. I think we could look for a good qualifying in wet conditions. I’m looking forward to it!"