The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team and riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were on a mission today. They used the 180 minutes of track time to the fullest in order to open the 2020 MotoGP Championship in the best condition possible – and they ticked all the boxes. The team-mates powered through a list of setting tweaks items and secured first and fifth place in the combined rankings.
Viñales continued the mindset he adapted in the earlier tests in Malaysia and Qatar (held pre-lockdown). Instead of putting in a fast benchmark lap, he completely focused on getting the feeling and the base set-up of his YZR-M1 right, in preparation for this weekend’s Gran Premio de España. After completing 29 laps, he ended the first session in 13th place, 1’38.863s, 0.922s from the top.
The second session came to an abrupt halt when after 9.5 minutes Danilo Petrucci and Alex Marquez crashed due to oil leaked from Aleix Espargaró’s bike, causing a red-flag situation. Following a thorough cleaning job by the marshals, the lights at the end of pit lane turned green again. Despite the interruption, the number-12 rider managed to cover a lot of ground in the afternoon. Gradually improving his time, he worked himself up inside the top five and went on to take over the number one spot on lap 28/31, with a 1’37.793s and a 0.118s gap to second place.
Rossi got the strong start he wished for. He was quick to head out at 10am in order to squeeze out the maximum potential from the 90 minutes he could spent on track in the morning. He focused on getting a good feeling with his YZR-M1 for the majority of the available time but did find an opportunity to put in a quick lap at the end of the session, securing third place in the rankings, with a 1’38.222s, 0.281s from first.
In the afternoon, the Italian moved on to working on different settings. Perfecting the race set-up will be crucial for the upcoming Spanish GP, as the weather forecasts predict it will be very hot and sunny weekend. The Doctor put in 32 laps on top of the 32 laps he rode in the morning. His 1’39.302s time in the afternoon put him in 16th place in the second session results, 1.509s from the front. However, his morning time earned him fifth in the combined Jerez test day rankings, 0.429s from his team-mate in first place.