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Movistar Yamaha Seek Grip in Sachsenring Friday Free Practice Sessions

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team kicked off the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland today with mixed results. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed great speed in the morning free practice session but weren’t able to book the amount of progress they intended to make in the afternoon. They wrapped up Day 1 in 6th and 17th place respectively in the combined standings.

Viñales was quick to head out on track at the start of FP1. It wasn’t long before he proved that the combination of the tight and mostly left-corner nature of the circuit and his smooth riding are a good match. He spurred on his Yamaha in the final stages and set a 1’22.152s for fourth place, 0.710s to first.

He again showed good form in the afternoon. Making full use of the sunny conditions at the Sachsenring circuit to test various set-up options, he secured provisional second place midway through FP2. The Spaniard held on to this spot until the times dropped in the final ten minutes. He posted a 1’21.384s on his last lap as a response and finished in sixth place, 0.499s from the top.

Teammate Rossi was looking competitive in the morning. He maintained a quick pace throughout, holding a top-3 position for the majority of the session before the pace picked up in the final stages of FP1. He set a 1’21.964s on his final attempt, 0.522s from the front, and held on to third position after the chequered flag came out.

The Doctor continued working on his bike’s balance in the afternoon session, which ended with extremely close results. The Italian was unable to immediately reproduce the competitive feeling he had in the morning but continued to use every minute of FP2 to find a setting solution. He completed the day in 17th place, with a best lap of 1’21.784s, even though he was less than a second (0.899s) separated from the fastest time of the day.

Today’s results see Viñales secure 6th position in the combined free practice timesheets. Rossi will be looking to better his 17th place in tomorrow morning’s FP3.

Maverick Viñales
Position: 6th – Time: 1’21.384 – Laps: 35

“The first day was difficult. I’m really focused and pushing my hardest on every lap, but it looks like our bike changes between one track and another. Anyway, Sachsenring is a good track for me. I’m giving it my all, because I want to be at the front, but we still have a lot of things to improve. The track is slippery, so you need really good electronics. We are working really hard on that and I think that for tomorrow we have a lot of room for improvement.”

Valentino Rossi
Position: 17th – Time: 1’21.784 – Laps: 45

“We had a lot of problems here on acceleration. When we try to put power on the ground we spin the tyre a lot and we suffer, because when we lose acceleration we lose drive. We tried to do something about it this afternoon, but unfortunately we weren’t able to improve. We have to continue and try to be stronger tomorrow.”

Massimo Meregalli
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director

“After the positive weekend in Assen we weren’t expecting such a difficult start. Though we began the weekend well in the morning, the track became quite slippery in the afternoon and this isn’t helping us. All Yamahas suffered from the change in track conditions, losing a lot of rear grip. We have to understand what has caused it, considering the track temperatures didn’t change much from the morning to the afternoon. We will prepare a different set-up with the aim to increase the rear grip. We’ll try this new setting in the morning, but it will also be fundamental to try it again in the afternoon, when the circumstances might be different, like we saw today. However, this change in programme makes our work more difficult, because we have less time to decide on a tyre for Sunday’s race.”

Busy Opening Day for Syahrin and Zarco in Germany

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair started their German Grand Prix campaigns today in good conditions. While MotoGP rookie Hafizh Syahrin had to learn the demanding Sachsenring circuit aboard the big machine, he improved steadily in the course of the day to eventually conclude Friday just 0.892 seconds behind the top of the ultra-competitive premier class field. Meanwhile, Johann Zarco began the weekend with a top 10 result in FP1 this morning and lowered his lap time by seven tenths during the second session today working towards the race on Sunday. Yet, the fast Frenchman needs to find some more time at the unique venue and bounce back in the standings tomorrow, starting with FP3 at 9.55 local time.

Hafizh Syahrin
Position: 16th – Time: 1’21.777 – Laps: 44

“The first day here I felt really good. I’m here for the first time with the GP bike and especially in turn 11 we have to be really carefully as it’s the first right corner after many left ones. I wanted to try to understand everything on the first run. On my second run, I felt really good with the medium tyre. Afterwards I changed to soft, but I felt that I’m losing the front, especially when braking hard. We are very close, just 0.8 seconds. I try to give my best for tomorrow. I’m really happy with the first day and hope that we can improve a bit more on Saturday.”

Johann Zarco
Position: 18th – Time: 1’21.787 – Laps: 45

“The first day at Sachsenring started well and also finished quite well. We are working hard, because we do so many laps during the race and therefore, it’s truly important to feel comfortable. It’s a complicate track and I want to feel good on it. This morning the lap time was coming while riding easy, which made me happy. In the afternoon, we could improve and we didn’t put the new tyre in at the end, because we wanted to keep working for the race, so it’s necessary in FP3 tomorrow to push hard in order to go directly to Q2. What we did today, I think, brought us on a good way to have a successful race.”

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