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Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Make First Strides in Assen

Assen (The Netherlands), 23rd June 2017 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have started their quest at the ’Cathedral‘ with a full-on schedule for the Friday. Their first day at the TT Assen Circuit was filled with preparing their bikes’ set-up and tyre allocation as well as trying the updated frame, and their hard work paid off. They booked solid progress, setting the first and sixth fastest time of the day respectively.

Viñales had to show some patience in the FP1, as it was red flagged just three minutes into the session due to track conditions. Once the lights in pit lane turned green again at 10:29 local circuit time, the Spaniard headed out to get his Assen challenge well and truly underway. He started his morning outing by comparing the updated frame to the original version before getting serious with his bike‘s setting. He soon found a good rhythm as he completed three five-lap stints on the Dutch circuit and set a best time of 1‘35.263s, which was fast enough to secure 12th place, 0.583s from first.

The youngster continued with a strong impression in the afternoon, setting the provisional fastest lap on his third attempt, and began to fine-tune his YZR-M1 to accommodate the Dutch circuit. He diligently worked on comparing the tyres, before he turned up the heat a notch on his final run. He ended the session posting multiple 1’33s laps to top the FP2 and combined timesheets with a 1’33.130s and a 0.367s gap to his closest rival.

Rossi didn‘t let a second go to waste once the morning session was restarted. Similar to his teammate, he started the day at the Assen track with getting a feel for his bike with the updated frame. He ended the session with an eight-minute ’shoot-out‘ to secure a place in the top-10, in case it would rain in the afternoon and tomorrow. The Doctor pushed hard to secure fifth in the FP1 rankings as he dropped a 1‘34.841s fastest lap, 0.161s from the front.

The nine-time World Champion gradually chipped away at his time in FP2 as he completed another 19 laps on top of this morning’s 22 laps, to make the nimble character of the Yamaha suit the twisty sections of the ’Cathedral‘. Working continuously on squeezing out extra tenths of a second, the Italian wrapped up the session setting a 1‘33.830s lap for sixth place in the FP2 and combined results, with a 0.700s margin to his teammate.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI
TEAM DIRECTOR

After the race in Barcelona, it was very important for us to start this weekend off on the right foot. We arrived at the circuit this morning knowing we had a lot of things we wanted to do in the two free practice sessions, and the results show the fruits of our labour. Following the riders‘ positive feedback at the Catalunya test, this morning we focused on making a comparison between the updated and standard frame with both riders. Besides that we could also work on the settings and got a first impression of the tyre allocation. Though it is still early days, and tomorrow‘s conditions might be very different from what we experienced today, we have laid some solid groundwork. The riders are both feeling comfortable on their bikes. Their first and sixth place could prove to be crucial if it rains during FP3 tomorrow, as their position in the combined results will see them both promote straight into Q2.

MAVERICK VIÑALES
1’33.130 (FP2) / 22 + 20 LAPS

Today‘s sessions were good. We wanted to compare the tyres and do many laps, especially on the soft to see if they are good to last the whole race. Whether they have good potential I don‘t know yet, we have to see tomorrow. We will see in FP4, when we‘re going to be more hot, which spec will be a good tyre for the race. I feel good, this is a track I like. The bike is working good and already from this morning we had a good set-up for this afternoon. We gained a lot of good information for tomorrow, especially for qualifying. We are trying and discussing the chassis, but as I always say: when we have grip, the bike is really nice to ride. Today it was easy to ride and control, and it was nice to feel good again.

VALENTINO ROSSI
1’33.830 (FP2) / 22 + 19 LAPS

This day was tough, as always in Assen, but in the end it was quite positive for me because I was in the top-5 this morning and in sixth position this afternoon. It was very important to stay in the top-10 for Q2 tomorrow, because it looks like the weather will be worse then. We were quite lucky, because we had two dry sessions, which in Assen isn‘t always the case. We were able to work on the chassis and my feeling with the bike is not so bad. For sure we still have some work to do. The balance of the bike is not at 100% yet, but for a Friday it was good.