Speedy Start to Silverstone Weekend for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi made a solid start to this weekend's GoPro British Grand Prix, giving positive feedback on the resurfaced Silverstone Circuit. The Factory Yamaha duo wrapped up Day 1 in third and fourth place respectively in the combined free practice results.
Viñales started his first run of the weekend with great motivation, eager to find out how the improved grip of the new tarmac would gel with the YZR-M1‘s smooth handling. He was soon settled inside the top 4 in the provisional rankings and then got to work, changing his bike‘s set-up. A small crash in Turn 7 halfway through the session lost the Spaniard a bit of time, but he was back on track and setting multiple fast laps in the final stages. His best time, a 2‘00.692s put him in third place, 0.740s from first.
The Spaniard stuck on some medium-medium tyres in the afternoon and rode a long first run in preparation for Sunday's race, as the weather forecast is predicting similar hot and sunny conditions. He made the required changes to his bike before putting in a late charge on his third run. Having switched to a soft rear tyre, he banked two 1‘59s laps showing competitive speed. With his first hot lap, a 1‘59.765s, he earned third place, with a 0.540s gap to P1.
Rossi likes the style of the Silverstone track a lot, and it showed as the Yamaha man gradually upped his pace in FP1, featuring inside the top 10 for most of the time. He quickly got familiar with the new tarmac, finding its grip improved and its surface smoother than previous years. As the competition heated up slightly in the final stages, the nine-time World Champion also put his head down and moved up to seventh in the rankings with a 2‘01.298s fastest lap, 1.346s from the top.
The Doctor switched to hard-hard tyres in the afternoon and got in a good number of laps before fitting a soft front tyre for the mini time attack. In the final minutes he put in a superb 1‘59.937s lap, but it was instantly cancelled by Race Direction. After a photo-review, his best lap time was reinstated, earning Rossi fourth position in the FP2 and combined free practice results, 0.712s from the top.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“I think the new surface is much better, we are riding much faster. The bumps are nearly all gone. There are just a couple in the last sector, but the rest of the track is really good. I had a small issue with the front tyre in FP1, which resulted in a crash, but we understood it pretty fast, so the problem is now solved. We need to keep working on the electronics to make them more consistent. Getting on the front row tomorrow in qualifying will be very important, so I expect to be close to it and start the race from one of those front places.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“It‘s a good start, it‘s a good Friday, because in both sessions I had a good pace and good feeling with the bike. At the end I did a good lap, but I was really on the limit with the white line, but from the bike I had the feeling that anyway I touched it. In fact, they had to review the image and then they gave me back my lap time, which is very important for tomorrow morning. We need to work to improve, but it looks like we‘re in good shape. Being in P4 is not too bad and the track is great. They did a very good job with the asphalt, there are fewer bumps and more grip, so it‘s a great pleasure and we will try to continue riding like this.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“First of all, we had a decent start today. We wanted to pick up the good momentum where we had left off at the previous race weekend, though the situation here is very different. We know the lay-out of this circuit suits our bike and the new surface provides good grip, so we see a lot of potential here for a positive weekend. Vale and Maverick had a good feeling in the morning and they noticed that the track is smoother. There are still some bumps in sector four, but there are definitely less on the track overall. Maverick had a small crash, but he was OK and quickly got back out there again. In the afternoon both riders were able to put in some really fast laps at the end of the FP2 session. Initially Race Direction had cancelled Vale‘s best time, but this was later corrected, so we are quite pleased to finish the first day with a third and fourth place and with some ideas of where we can improve tomorrow.”