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Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Start Search For Perfect Spanish Set-Up

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team commenced the fourth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship today at a sunny Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto. It was a busy day for Maverick Viñales, who enjoyed two solid free practice sessions and secured 6th place in the combined timesheets. Valentino Rossi focused on his bike‘s set-up in the morning and made further steps in the afternoon, taking 16th position overall.

It was a full-on first day at the Gran Premio de España for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi tried a new bottom fender package (referred to as “the spoon”) and took 6th and 16th position respectively overall.

Eager to improve acceleration, Viñales wasted no time to get to work. The Spaniard was excited to see if the new track surface, with improved grip-level, would play to his advantage, and it did. He was in his element and set a best time of 1’38.112s, 0.191s from first, good for third place.

The home rider took some time adjusting his bike’s setting in the afternoon when the sun came out. Once comfortable, he set a 1‘38.556s. Viñales was ready to push some more in his next stint, but then a red flag halted the session. The FP2 was restarted a few minutes later, and in the remaining 2m42s the Yamaha rider improved his FP2 time to a 1‘38.241s, for fifth place, 0.332s from the top. His faster morning time earned him sixth place in the combined FP rankings, 0.203s from first.

Rossi put in the work this morning. He used the entire session to adjust his bike’s settings. Without giving much regard to clocking a hot lap, he finished the 45-minute outing in 18th position with a best lap of 1’39.380s, 1.459s from the front.

The Doctor continued his set-up progress in the afternoon, adapting it to the much higher temperatures. Though he couldn‘t find the right feeling, he put his head down halfway through the session after he had fresh medium tyres fitted under his Yamaha. He immediately moved up nine places to provisional P7 on his first flying lap, but soon proceedings were temporarily stopped due to track conditions. After the restart, he bettered his time to a 1‘38.681s, but didn’t improve his placement, ending FP2 in 14th place. He finished 16th in the combined FP results, 0.772s from first.

Maverick Viñales
Position: 6th – 1’38.112 (FP1) / 17 + 18 LAPS
“It was a pretty good day, but, especially in FP2, I could only do two good laps, so there was no time to get into the rhythm and to get used to the bike. It‘s going to be important for tomorrow to make laps and understand the tyres and what the set-up for the race will be like. We have a few issues, so we need to keep working to try and solve them for tomorrow. The track conditions changed so much from FP1 to FP2, so I‘m not sure what to expect for tomorrow. I think a perfect set-up for FP3 won‘t be good for qualifying, because the temperatures change so much, but we‘re going to do our best.”

Valentino Rossi
Position: 16th – 1’38.681 (FP2) / 20 + 20 LAPS
“We arrive here in Jerez, where we know we will have to suffer a little, because in the last few years we haven‘t been strong at this track. In fact, it’s like this again. We hope that we can be faster and stronger, but it was a difficult first day. I‘m not very fast and wasn‘t feeling very comfortable with the bike. We tried something in the afternoon, but we didn‘t fix enough. Now we have to check all the data and work hard this evening to try to improve. We don‘t have a particular problem. The bike is like it was in Austin, so it means the marriage between the tyres, the asphalt, and the bike isn‘t fantastic.”

Massimo Mergalli
Monster Energy Yamaha Team Director
“Today was a first examination for us. In the last two years we scored decent results in the first rounds, but we struggled here in Jerez. This morning we started reasonably well, but the real test came in the afternoon when the temperatures rose drastically. In the hottest conditions, during this afternoon‘s practice session, we faced more difficulties than expected. We haven‘t been able to be consistent with the pace and, apart from Maverick‘s fast lap, also the speed is missing. We tried most of the tyre specifications, both front and rear, which gave us an indication of what does and doesn‘t work for us. The expectations for today were better, but at least the riders have flagged the same issues, so the entire team can now join forces and work on a solution together. We‘re confident that we can prepare a package for FP3. That session will be very important to get into Q2.”