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Monster Energy Yamaha Take On First Tuscan Free Practice Sessions

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi completed the first Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley free practice sessions today. Viñales took a little time in the sunny morning but jumped up to 5th position in the combined timesheets in the even hotter afternoon. With the weather forecast being consistently sunny for the weekend, Rossi focused on assessing his bike‘s setting and the tyre combinations, and set the 18th fastest time of the day.

Viñales used the 45-minute morning session with a clear goal in mind. He knew that the track temperatures would rise and bring big changes in terms of tyre decisions. Therefore, the Spaniard used FP1 to get his bike ready for FP2, expecting its conditions to be similar to those in Sunday‘s race. He wrapped up FP1 in 14th place, with a 1‘48.392s lap on his last try, 0.834s from the leading time.

In the afternoon, the number-12 rider went down to business. He used the first half of the session to fine-tune his bike‘s setting and was then quick to ride his YZR-M1 to fourth place in the provisional rankings. He set multiple fast laps as he fought to hold a spot in the top-3. However, every time he got up there, he was pushed down a position and ultimately finished fifth, with a 1‘46.973s lap. Still, the Spaniard underlined how fast his race pace is, as he finished 0.241s from first.

Rossi was happy to greet the local fans under the Tuscan sun in FP1, as he prepared for his first home race of the season. Eager to position himself as a key protagonist for this weekend in front of his home fans, the Doctor tested various settings for his YZR-M1 throughout the morning practice, but he struggled to find good pace. He finished in 12th place with a best lap of 1’48.356s, 0.798s off the fastest time.

The nine-time World Champion’s performance improved slightly in FP2. Encouraged by the loud cheers from the Italian fans, he used the afternoon session to further work on his bike‘s setting. He bettered his personal best lap by 0.630s but didn‘t improve his ranking. He ended the day in 18th place in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, with a fastest lap of 1‘47.726s, 0.994s from the top.

Maverick Viñales
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team

“In the afternoon I improved my riding. Just by riding the bike, and by trying to make myself smaller around the whole track, is where I found some time, but still the bike is very difficult, it’s so nervous. I couldn’t ride really well. We need to keep working and try to be better tomorrow. I’m struggling everywhere, so we need to improve and work in a good way if we want to fight for the race. Getting a first or second row for tomorrow will be very important. It’s such a long track, so you need to start at the front.”

Valentino Rossi
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team

“It was a difficult day, I expected to be more competitive, but already from this morning I wasn’t very fast. I wasn’t feeling very well, and I wasn’t able to ride in a very good way. In fact, my position is quite bad, so we have to improve. This afternoon we tried the hard tyres, but the pace isn’t fantastic. We need to improve in other areas than just top speed, because the other Yamahas are quite fast.”

Massimo Meregalli
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“We already assumed this weekend would start with some difficulties here in Mugello considering the long straight, but we didn’t expect the struggles we experienced in FP1. During FP2 the situation became more normal again, apart from Valentino’s P18, so we need to find out what happened there. We have been fast in sector 1 to 3 and we lost time where we foresaw. Today we were also able to test most of the tyre combinations and we could almost determine which option we’ll use in Sunday’s race. I expect that it will be a long night for our engineers to analyse the data and prepare some solutions so we can improve our performance at both sides of the garage for tomorrow’s FP3 and have both riders in Q2.”

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