Progressive Start for Movistar Yamaha at the San Marino GP
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales had an encouraging start to the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini weekend, securing fourth position in the combined Friday free practice timesheets. Valentino Rossi experienced a challenging FP1, but recovered in FP2, ending the day in eighth place.
Viñales found a good feeling at the recent private test in Aragon, Spain, and he continued the positive vibes this morning when he started his San Marino GP challenge. He gradually climbed the provisional rankings, entering the top-3. He held firm for most of the FP1 session until the pace picked up in the final seven minutes, but even then he kept his cool and responded by clocking a 1'32.739s to take third place, 0.131s from first.
Despite the weather conditions changing from sunny to overcast in the afternoon, the Spaniard picked up work where he had left off. He struggled to show the same pace he had in the morning, but whilst tweaking his bike's set-up he was able to post 1'32s laps towards the end and ultimately finished the day in fourth place, both in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, with a 1'32.411s, 0.213s from the top.
Thousands of Italian fans had been waiting to see their local hero in action, but the start of the San Marino GP weekend wasn't what Rossi had hoped for. Nevertheless, he focused on improving his bike's dry setting as the forecast for FP2 and FP3 remained uncertain and the race on Sunday is predicted to be dry. He ended the morning session in 15th position, with a 1.007s margin to first.
In the cloudy afternoon the Doctor had his work cut out for him to claim a position inside the combined free practice top-10, but the added pressure only motivated him even more. He worked tirelessly trying to make his way up the order. He saved the best for last, dropping a 1'32.786s in the final two minutes that put him in eighth place both in the combined and FP2 timesheets, 0.588s from today's fastest time.
Position: 4th - Time: 132.411 - Laps: 42
"Honestly, today we've been working a lot on the lines on track, because we needed to improve this. The bike is at a really good level, but I need to amend my riding style a little in some sectors. Anyway, we still need to improve the electronics a little bit more. I think that there's another step we can make there, but I'm happy about today. I think the tyre decision is difficult, because the degradation is completely different than during the test, we have much more of it now. We have to see what it's like tomorrow, today was only the first day - maybe the track wasn't in a great condition yet. On wet I have to improve my riding style, so in case of a wet FP3, I will focus on that and making a lot of laps."
Position: 8th - Time: 1'32.786 - Laps: 40
"It was very important to be in the top-10 today. I improved my lap time at the end and reached the target. I feel more comfortable with the bike compared to during the test, I'm a little bit faster already, but I have some problems, especially on braking. We have to improve the balance of the bike and it was also difficult with the tyre today. We expected that the hard was the right choice, but it looks like the race track now has a lot less grip compared to the test. This makes it more difficult. We still have work to do if we want to do a good race."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"After the test here in Misano some weeks ago, we were interested to see if we could confirm the things we found back then. Unfortunately, the condition of the track and the tyre degradation are different than we expected, but that said, the riders are comfortable on their bikes, so we're seeing some fruits from our labour. One of today's aims was to get into Q2 with both riders, since we're expecting rain for tomorrow's FP3. It's also important to make the tyre choice for the race, but today we couldn't do it, so it will be important to have at least one more dry session before the Sunday. Obviously, we will try to prepare something for tomorrow. Since Maverick and Valentino are quite satisfied, we're optimistic that we can make another step forward."
Determined Monster Yamaha Tech3 Pair is Back on Track in Misano
Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco was quickly up to speed in this mornings' FP1 session, finishing in seventh position and lowered his fastest lap by 0.256 seconds this afternoon to eventually conclude Friday at the San Marino Grand Prix just 0.005 seconds behind the tenth fastest rider.
On the other side, MotoGP rookie Hafizh Syahrin had a difficult first day on board his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time at the 4.2-kilometer-long circuit. The Malaysian youngster is working hard on improving on his 25th position in FP3 tomorrow morning at 9.55 local time.
Position: 11th - Time: 1'32.985 - Laps: 35
"I began better than what I was expecting and I'm happy for that, although it's a pity to miss the top 10 today. I want to take the positive of today. In the afternoon we were a bit scared about the possibility of rain, so I went straight out with a new tyre. I did a good lap time, but not good enough to be in the top 10 and in the last minutes my tyre was not fresh enough to be even faster. But I did many good laps and this is truly positive. I cross my fingers to have dry conditions tomorrow morning in order to improve my lap time to be directly in Q2. Anyway, I'm positive about that as I have a good feeling on the bike at this track."
Position: 25th - Time: 1'34.539
"At the moment I didn't find my good feeling, but I'm really happy that we worked really good in the first laps of FP2. I don't know why, but I lost the front in turn seven. From there we were struggling a bit to find the best feeling with the bike because we changed to the other machine and tried to put the same setup, but it was different. I try to work hard and want to improve my lap time and my position tomorrow, as I don't want to start in the last row. I give my best for Saturday, try to find a good rhythm and I'm ready to come back as strong as possible."