2019 MotoGP Thailand - Chang International
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Mean Business in Buriram Friday FP Sessions
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi weren‘t shy to get themselves in the mix today at the Chang International Circuit as they prepared for Sunday's PTT Thailand Grand Prix. They made the most of the two Friday practice sessions, continuously featuring at the top of the rankings, and ultimately finished the day in second and fifth position respectively in the combined times.
Viñales needed only 10 minutes to get warmed up in FP1 and then climbed up to provisional third place. Having gotten a feel for the Chang track, his times dropped into the 1‘31s on his second run allowing him to move up to second. He then made some last tweaks to his bike's set-up before heading out for Run 4 in the final minutes, and it paid off. The flag was already out when he became the only rider to clock a 1‘30s lap in the morning, posting a 1‘30.979s to take first place, 0.191s ahead of the field.
The Spaniard used FP2 to further fine-tune his bike and gradually worked himself up to second place again before the usual ’mini time attacks‘ started. The pressure was on as rain is on the cards for tomorrow‘s FP3. The number-12 rider used the final stages of FP2 to push out some hot laps and took over at the top again with a 1‘30.597s. As he ran into traffic, he was unable to improve on this time on his next two tries and closed the day in second place, 0.193s from the top in the combined results.
Rossi needed little time to warm to the Thai track. He soon put his Yamaha in second place in the rankings, already producing a 1‘31s lap time on his first run. He was eager to get to work perfecting the basis set-up for his YZR-M1 and put it to the test in his third outing around the Buriram circuit. He dropped under the 1‘32s-mark again for three consecutive laps. Setting a 1‘31.482s best time, he ended the session in sixth place, with a 0.503s margin to his team-mate.
The Doctor also had a positive FP2. He was fixed on improving the set-up of his Yamaha on the harder tyre option to then turn up the heat in the final seven minutes. Once he headed out on a soft tyre, the Italian immediately moved up to second, but he was unable to hold this position. Though he further improved his time to a 1‘30.733s on his penultimate lap, he completed the first day in fifth place, 0.329s from first.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“This is a track where we're usually quite fast. We still have some points where we can improve, but I‘m quite happy. We did a good job today and for tomorrow there are still opportunities to further improve, as I said. I‘m quite happy and confident, and we‘ll see where we are after qualifying. There‘s more potential for us in sector 2. Today, I used the tyre that I thought had the most potential. I‘m quite pleased with the lap times and the rhythm, and tomorrow for sure we‘ll make another step.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“It was a positive day because all the Yamahas are at the top, they are strong, we are fast. Especially when we put in the softer tyres for the time attack, the bike worked very well. In terms of race pace we suffered a bit more. Our opponents are very strong, so for the race we need to work, especially to make the right tyre choice for the front and rear. For the time attack we are very fast.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We know from last year that the Chang International Circuit is a good circuit for us. We were able to work well in both sessions, without any problems, mainly adjusting electronic settings, testing different tyre specifications, and we could even keep working on the development of the new exhaust. So far both riders' feedback has been positive when it comes to the time attack. We will continue to boost our race pace for tomorrow, but considering the possibility of rain for FP3, having our riders inside the top 10 today is important.”