Assertive Start for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP in Argentina
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team showed competitive form on the first day of riding at the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit. Maverick Viñales felt good on his bike at the start of the Gran Premio de la República Argentina and ultimately wrapped up the day in sixth place in the combined standings. Valentino Rossi also showed good pace, positioning his YZR-M1 towards the top of the rankings for most of the free practice sessions, and went on to secure seventh position overall.
Chasing a second consecutive win on Argentine soil, Viñales was determined to position himself as a key protagonist early on in the weekend. The self-confessed fan of the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit soon found a good feeling aboard his YZR-M1 in FP1. Though he had to hold back due to traffic on track, the 23-year-old continued to make progress. His best time, a 1'41.224s, earned him 13th place, 0.921s from the front.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP youngster intended on working hard in the afternoon to make another step and earn himself a placement within the top-10. Damp track conditions formed a challenge for the Spaniard, but he worked his magic towards the end of the session when the track started to dry. Despite the difficult weather circumstances he improved on his morning time by 0.714s, when he posted a 1'40.510s, moving up to sixth place, with a 1.115s margin to the leading time.
Rossi's name was found at the top of the standings early on in the first 45-minute free practice session. Feeling comfortable on his bike in the cooler conditions, he gradually improved his pace and finished FP1 taking seventh place with a best lap of 1'40.825s, 0.522s to first.
The afternoon saw more of the same from the Doctor. He dropped a 1'43.034s for provisional first place in the first few laps. He then worked on the tyres, electronics and balance of the bike to prepare a race set-up, until spots of rain interrupted the FP2 proceedings. He held seventh place when track action picked up again in the second half of the session. He further improved his time to 1'40.577s, but remained in seventh position as the chequered flag came out, 1.182s from the top.
Today's FP1 and FP2 results see Viñales and Rossi take 6th and 7th place respectively in the combined timesheets. Tomorrow they will be back on track from 10:55 - 11:40 local track time (GMT-3) for Free Practice 3, followed by Free Practice 4 from 14:30 - 15:00 and the qualifying sessions from 15:10 - 15:50.
Position: 6th - Time: 1'40.510 - Laps: 38
"My feelings today have been mixed. I felt quite confident on the bike this morning, but honestly, I didn't feel the same way in the afternoon. I was happy that, in the end, I provisionally qualified for Q2 in FP2, because it was difficult. Tomorrow, if it rains, it would have been tricky to get inside the top-10. We have to work in order to close the gap to our opponents, so we have to stay focused."
Position: 7th - Time: 1'40.577 - Laps: 30
"The main target was to stay inside the top-10, because the weather is very difficult to predict - this is very important. I'm quite happy about my pace with the harder tyres, because I feel comfortable with the bike. I put the soft on in the end but, unfortunately, I wasn't able to improve like I expected. With the softer tyre I didn't feel very good. We have to manage this problem, especially tomorrow for the qualifying. We also have to wait for the weather, because it's difficult to understand what will happen and I hope it will be dry."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"The first free practice sessions are always tricky here, because the surface requires the riders to put some rubber on the track first in FP1. During FP2 we lost a bit of time due to spots of rain, but luckily it held off, so we were still able to get work done in preparation for tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race. Maverick was feeling comfortable in the morning. Though he didn't have the same feeling in the afternoon, he was still able to move up to sixth place in the combined rankings during FP2. Vale has been consistently fast throughout the day and is quite pleased with the bike. Even though we started the weekend in the right way, we still have some work to do, especially concerning braking and corner entry, to close the gap. We expect the track conditions to improve during the weekend, but the weather for tomorrow remains uncertain, which makes a top-10 result for both riders in the combined FP1-FP2 standings all the more important."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Duo Kicks Off Argentina GP in Solid Form
Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin performed well on day one at the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit, although some rain before FP2 this afternoon delivered tricky conditions at the partly resurfaced track.
Frenchman Zarco initiated the weekend with a considerable lap of 1'40.614 during the first session of the weekend, which secured him the fourth spot in the standings as the fastest Yamaha rider. However, the 27-year couldn't lower his lap time this afternoon, but finished in 9th position, well placed to go straight to Q2 in case of rain on Saturday morning.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Syahrin opened his second MotoGP weekend impressively in 11th, less than half a second behind his teammate. Yet, he managed to stay close to the fastest, finishing Friday as the best rookie of the highly-competitive premier class field.
Position: 9th - Time: 1’40.614 - Laps: 37
"This Friday in Argentina was quite difficult and unfortunately, we were not able to improve during FP2, which is complicate. I had to fight a lot with the grip and with the bike and we couldn't quickly find a good setup to make me feel comfortable. The most important thing was to be inside the top 10 in case of rain tomorrow morning, but if it's dry, I really need to improve my pace and be more competitive. At the moment I don't feel I can fight with the fastest guys, but we will work hard to make good progress on Saturday."
Position: 17th - Time: 1’41.094 - Laps: 24
"I felt really good in FP2, but also during the first session this morning. It took quite some time to clean the track, but overall, I just have some great sensations. In the afternoon, the conditions were really tricky. I was pushing a bit too much while trying to get straight into Q2. Finally, this lead into some mistakes, but in the end, I understood what I did wrong. The bike overall feels better and better for me. We'll take a look at the data in order to improve further for tomorrow and I hope, that I can make one step forward."