Movistar Yamaha Tackle first Tuscan Free Practice Sessions
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were back on track for the first free practice sessions at the Autodromo del Mugello. Viñales was in fine form in the morning, but a crash in the afternoon cost him valuable track time, leaving him in fifth position in the combined timesheets. Rossi focused on both getting a feel for the track and assessing his condition ahead of this weekend's Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley, and set the fourteenth fastest time of the day.
Still in good spirits from his victory in Le Mans, Viñales showed a strong pace in the 45-minute morning session. With a clear track in front of him, he was quick to find a good setting and topped the standings for most of the time with a 1'47.669s lap, until various riders put in a soft tyre towards the end of FP1. However, the young Spaniard underlined how fast his race pace is, as he held third place when the chequered flag came out, 0.275s off the front.
The afternoon saw a similar start to the proceedings. The number 25 rider was quick to ride his YZR-M1 to second place in the rankings, but a fast crash, 13 minutes into the session at turn 9, lost him some valuable practice time. Despite not being able to use FP2 to the fullest, Viñales was quickly back into the groove when he headed out on his second bike and in fresh leathers. He wrapped up FP2 in thirteenth place, with a 1'48.014s lap on his last try, 0.649s from first.
Local hero Rossi was also out on track in the Tuscan sunshine this morning and impressed with his brave performance as he prepared for his first home race of the season. Despite the fact that hes still recovering from injury, the Italian completed 15 laps and tested various settings for his YZR-M1 throughout the morning practice, to finish in fifteenth place with a best lap of 1'48.513s, 1.119s off the fastest time.
The nine-time World Champion further improved in FP2. Encouraged by the loud cheering of the Italian fans, he gradually quickened his pace. He used the afternoon session to further fine-tune his bikes setting and finished strong, in twelfth place, with a fastest lap of 1'48.000s, 0.513s faster than his best time of FP1 and 0.635s from the FP2 leader.
Todays results see Viñales placed fifth in the combined session times, 0.304s from the front, with Rossi in fourteenth, 0.635s off today's fastest time.
Position 5th - Time: 1'47.669 - Laps: 31
It was a big crash, so Im really lucky to walk away from it. There was some damage done, but Im still OK. I went back to the box and headed out on a totally different bike, with a few things that I didnt like and a full tank, but I was still feeling good, putting in 148.0s laps in these hot temperatures, which was quite nice. I think Im going to be alright for the rest of the weekend. If the session just now was OK, I think on Sunday I will be much better. We still need to modify some things on the electronics, but I feel good.
Position 14th - Time: 1'48.000 - Laps: 33
Today's sessions were very important to get an understanding of my condition. This morning I suffered a lot, I had a lot of pain on the right, especially on acceleration, but this afternoon the situation was a bit better. I struggled physically, especially with my breathing, because I'm not at 100%, but it is getting better. We hope that tomorrow and Sunday the situation will improve. Usually Friday is the most difficult day, so we had to suffer a bit, but we tried.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
Though its not clearly reflected in todays time sheets, actually we had quite a good start to the weekend. Maverick showed he has a great race pace this morning in FP1. It was unfortunate that a fall in FP2 prohibited him from bettering his fastest lap from the morning, because he lost some valuable track time. Still, given the fact that he set this mornings time on the medium compound, we know that his fifth place in the combined times is only a vague indication of his form out on track. Today, Valentino made his first kilometres on the bike since his motocross incident. He used some light painkillers for FP2 and managed to make some good progress in the afternoon. He has surprised all of us with his quick recovery and his speed on the track in both sessions. I'm sure tomorrow hell feel even better both physically and on the bike.
Impressive Folger closes day one in 3rd Zarco straight up to speed
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team enjoyed a thoroughly positive first day of action at the spectacular Mugello circuit with both riders notably finishing inside the top six. Jonas Folger kicked off his weekend with a superb run to 3rd, to end up as the top Yamaha and merely 0.178 from the leading time. Whilst Johann Zarco concluded the day strongly and in 6th overall but just 0.131 behind his teammate. The riders seek to power onwards and continue the momentum tomorrow in FP3, which commences at 09:55.
Position 3rd - Time: 1'47.543 - Laps: 35
I am really happy with todays result and it was a super way to begin the Mugello round. Of course, I am satisfied with my lap time, but I am even more pleased because I am comfortable on the YZR-M1 and I already feel confident at this track even though its my first time here on a MotoGP bike. There is a big difference between the soft and hard tyres on this asphalt, so we tried the harder compound for a long time before eventually switching over at the end. Tomorrow we have to see how far we can go on the softer tyre because Johann did a lot of laps with this option and he was strong, so therefore, it could be a good option for the race. Anyway, we had a great day and I am looking forward to getting back on the track.
Position 6th - Time: 1'47.674 - Laps: 35
The first day went positively for us and I am confident for the rest of the weekend. The team and I worked with the soft tyre, which gave me a good feeling, and I was able to ride some solid lap times. However, this morning, I had to force the bike a bit, yet I found more control in the afternoon and here, I was very consistent and I enjoyed myself. It was a bit challenging to be faster because it was quite hot, and the grip level on the track is good but this means that when the temperature rises, it becomes trickier to improve, just like at the Jerez circuit. Anyway, I am still inside the top ten which is really important and I have to keep it until the end of FP3 so that I can get into Q2. I will keep working and there is some information to analyse, but overall I am happy. In addition, it may be possible for us to use the soft tyres for the race, however, we will confirm this tomorrow, yet it could be the right option to fight for another podium.