Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed speed at the start of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya weekend. The teammates used every minute of the two free practice sessions to improve their bikes’ base settings and took third and fifth place respectively in the combined standings.
The Catalan GP is a special event for Viñales, who is excited to be riding in front of his home fans this weekend. Debuting a special helmet to commemorate his close friend Luis Salom, the youngster was quick to try his race pace with the base set-up they established at the Catalunya test three weeks ago. The work paid off, as he improved his lap time on every run and ultimately secured sixth place with a best lap of 1’40.114s, 0.658s behind his teammate in first place.
The afternoon practice saw the temperatures go up to 28°C, changing the track conditions, but Viñales’ determination and work ethic were unaffected. The local hero was quick to respond when the pace of the rider field increased at the end of the session, and he set a 1’39.422s to briefly hold first place. He ended the day in third position in both the FP2 and the combined free practice results, 0.492s from first.
“I think we can make another step here in Catalunya for tomorrow, though we already improved the bike quite a lot today, especially in FP2 in the hot conditions. We have to keep working and keep focusing on the way to improve the bike. We’ve been working a lot on improving my feeling in the first laps of the race and I think we also have an idea that we’ll try tomorrow. I’m going to make all runs with a race set-up and do laps and more laps, that’s what I like. To get onto the first row tomorrow will be very important.”