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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Movistar Yamaha Gain Momentum on a Hectic Friday at Mugello

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales started the weekend as the second fastest man after day one at the Autodromo del Mugello. Teammate Valentino Rossi was also on the pace as he prepared for Sunday’s Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley. The pair finished in second and seventh place respectively in the combined FP standings.

Viñales had a less than ideal start to the GP weekend in today’s FP1 session. He suffered a small crash but was uninjured and OK to continue the session. He used his frustration to boost his performance and set his personal fastest time of the morning, a 1’47.995s, on lap 7/18, for third place. He spent the remainder of the session working on his bike’s set-up and ended in fourth place, 0.742s from the top.

The Spaniard continued to improve his form in the afternoon. Despite the FP2 session being red flagged twice, he was able to make steps forward and took the top spot with a flying 1’47.122s lap, three minutes before the chequered flag. Various riders also put in a soft rear tyre at the end of the session, but the Yamaha rider’s time was fast enough to earn him second place, 0.387s from first.

Rossi started the morning off by swiftly moving into third place. However, as a lack of grip in the cooler conditions caught out various MotoGP riders, the Doctor decided to focus mainly on mixing and comparing setting solutions found during the recent Mugello and Montmeló tests. His fastest time, a 1’48.218s, took him up to eighth place in the FP1 rankings, 0.965s off the front.

Determined to position himself as a key protagonist for this weekend in front of his home fans, the Italian was on the pace right from the start of FP2. With the increased temperatures, he was quick to secure second place. However, midway through the afternoon practice, incidents disrupted proceedings, which had the entire MotoGP field anxious to put in a fast time in the final 22 minutes of the session. Despite running into traffic during a hot lap, Rossi posted a 1’47.445s, 0.710s from the top, and finished in seventh place both in the FP2 and combined free practice timesheets.

Maverick Viñales
Position: 2nd – Time: 1’47.122 – Laps: 28

“I gained a lot of confidence in Montmeló during last week’s test and today has been good too. Despite my crash this morning the practice went very well, I’m really happy. We still have work to do, because we have room for improvement for tomorrow. I’m happy that I felt good with the bike and with the tyres in the afternoon in the hotter conditions and I hope it will be the same on Sunday during the race. Our race pace isn’t looking so bad. The team didn’t change the settings much since the test in Catalunya, the bike is quite similar. I’m feeling good on it and will continue to try to do my best. Today I couldn’t do ten laps in a row because we had many red flags. I hope Michele is OK, because the crash was unreal. I wish him the best of luck.”

Valentino Rossi
Position: 7th – Time: 1’47.445 – Laps: 25

“It was a positive Friday, because this morning and also this afternoon I wasn’t so bad, my pace is quite good. It’s also true that we have a lot of different bikes and riders that are very fast, but we are also there. We’re on our way, especially with the pace. We have to work on improving further, because I suffer from too much wheelspin at the exit of the corners, but for the rest I feel good with the bike. I hope that Michele is OK after his crash and wish him all the best for his recovery.”

Massimo Meregalli
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director

“We’ve had a hectic day at the Mugello circuit. It started with Maverick losing some time because of a small crash at the beginning of FP1, and in FP2 we had the session stopped twice during red flag situations, halting our progression. Thankfully, due to our earlier tests – one here in Mugello and another one last week in Spain – we had a good basis to start from. Our pace didn’t change a lot between the morning and the afternoon session and that gives us a realistic view of where we stand at the moment for Sunday’s race. We tested various settings and tried some tyre specifications. Both riders are comfortable on their bikes, but we still have room for improvement, especially concerning rear grip and some small adjustments to the electronics. It comes down to fine-tuning as the basis is already good. We wish Michele Pirro all the best after today’s horrific crash, which had us all very worried. We’re hoping for more good news and a speedy recovery.”

Impressive Opening Day for Monster Yamaha Tech3 Duo in the Tuscan Hills

French star Johann Zarco delivered a surprising performance today at the Italian Grand Prix, following a slightly cautious start this morning, he did incredibly well during the last minutes of FP2 to clinch the fourth spot in the combined timings. Thereby, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider concluded the first day of practice as the best independent team rider of the MotoGP World Championship field.

On the other side of the Tech3 garage, for the first time ever Hafizh Syahrin discovered the Mugello circuit on a big bike and displayed a fantastic effort in lowering his lap time by 1.704 seconds from FP1 to FP2 in order to secure a position inside the top 15. At the end of the day, the Malaysian rookie found himself just 0.581 seconds behind his fast teammate.

Johann Zarco
Position: 4th – Time: 1’47.365 – Laps: 41

“The first day in Mugello was very interesting and I’m happy that I was able to improve my lap time in the last session. We’re working well with the team, although it’s a totally different track from all the others this year. With my experience I could understand which kind of riding style is fitting to this track, so we also have to set up the bike respectively to ride well and step by step we could do that. We want to keep working, finding the best possible pace with the used tyre and then push with the new tyre to have a great qualifying.”

Hafizh Syahrin
Position: 15th – Time: 1’47.946 – Laps: 37

“I felt really good on the last run of FP2, because we made a huge step. We improved by nearly two seconds in comparison to this morning. In the first session, I was too nervous and quite far from the other rookies, but this afternoon we managed to do a very good practice. With the team I tried to understand everything and I tried to change my riding in order to improve in every corner. We were changing some small things with the two bikes and I was a lot better. We’ll see, if we can keep this momentum for tomorrow, but I hope to do my best ever qualifying and stay close to Morbidelli.”

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