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Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Starts Second Half of Season in Spielberg

It was back to school for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo today after the five-week long summer break. The riders were excited to be reunited with their YZR-M1s, but rain dampened their progress in the afternoon. They ended the day in seventh and eighth position respectively in the combined timesheets.

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo were keen to make steps on the first day at the Spielberg track, but mixed conditions in FP2 made the first day back from summer break tricky. The teammates ended the day in seventh and eighth position respectively in the combined free practice results.

With changeable conditions predicted for the Friday, Viñales planned to get as much work done in the morning as possible. He pushed hard in the opening stages of FP1 to take second place just nine minutes into the session. After improving his time once more, he held a top-3 position for a while until the pace quickened with 15 minutes left on the clock. The number-12 rider in turn posted a 1‘24.492s on lap 19/25, for seventh place, 0.687s from first.

In FP2, although Top Gun was looking to get in more laps, rainy conditions precluded any possibilities to make strides in terms of time improvement. The Spaniard waited for the right moment to resume his work. When a dry line was slowly forming with 25 minutes remaining, he sprung back into action. He moved up to fourth place in the final five minutes, clocking a 1‘32.685s on lap 10/13. As the times dropped, he ended the FP2 session in ninth. But thanks to his morning time he secured seventh in the combined free practice times, 0.687s from first.

Quartararo had been eagerly awaiting the start of the second half of the season. He was quick to hop to it and get a feel for the Austrian circuit. The current championship leader made sure to make the most of the available dry track time, focusing fully on race setting preparations. His best time, a 1‘24.580s set on lap 7/26 earned him eighth place.

Following a dry morning session, the weather at the Spielberg track took a turn for the worse with rain falling down right before and during the start of the FP2 session. The Frenchman had predicted that these conditions would be tricky for him, but he bravely soldiered on. With a dry line forming halfway through the session, his best effort of a 1‘33.498s set on lap 16/18 put him in 15th place. However, his 1‘24.580s FP1 time kept him in eighth in today‘s combined rankings, 0.775s from the top.

Today we didn‘t get quite as much dry laps in as we had hoped for. FP1 was good though. The sunny conditions allowed our riders to get a good feel for the track after five weeks without riding a MotoGP bike. Overall, their first impressions weren‘t too bad, though there‘s definitely work to be done. In a way we are lucky that FP2 was wet, because we were able to see early on where we need to improve in those conditions. It’s good that we already have some wet weather data to work with because the forecasts for Sunday are not that nice. Right now we are inside the top 10 in the combined results without having done a time attack. We will take a good look at today‘s data and work this evening to prepare a step for tomorrow to ensure our riders a place in Q2.
I felt good in all conditions, wet and dry. It was important to feel good and fast right from FP1, because we had a long break before. I think we have a good potential, but I hope that tomorrow the weather will be more consistent, so we can try more things and push a bit more. Here you never know. One moment it’s raining, but then suddenly the sun comes out and the track dries in five minutes, so you always need to be ready for anything. For sure, if it stays dry tomorrow, the plan is to keep doing laps to better understand the best way of riding at this track. We don’t need to touch the bike’s dry settings too much, they are good. I’m quite happy about the rhythm we had in the morning. Maybe we could have done a time attack in FP1, but we are still inside the provisional top 10 to promote to Q2 anyway, and that’s the most important.
I felt really good on the dry today and pretty bad in the wet and half-and-half conditions. On the dry I felt much better on the bike than I did last year. In the mixed conditions I wasn’t feeling good, and I don’t know why. But that is why it was good to have these conditions today, so we could try to make a step forward for Sunday in case it rains. So, my aim is to find something this evening and improve for the race.
Race Results
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