Viñales and Rossi’s top 10 hopes dampened on mixed Spielberg Friday
Following a dry FP1, the weather at the Spielberg track took a turn for the worse with a downpour right before FP2. With some parts of the track wet and others dry, the 45-minute afternoon session became a waiting game for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team. Thus Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi finished in 11th and 13th place respectively in the combined times.
Viñales was keen to have a second go at securing a place in the top 10, but the weather conditions precluded any possibilities of making strides. In the final minutes, he hopped aboard his YZR-M1 to set multiple red sectors. He put in a 1‘27.941s on lap 5/5, taking eighth. However, his morning time set in the dry was faster. The 1‘24.779s earned him 11th in the combined free practice times, 0.586s from the top.
Rossi waited patiently for the circuit to become sufficiently dry to start the last-minute time attack. Once the action got underway, with the majority of the MotoGP riders en route to put in a fast lap, he featured in the top 4. But with the track conditions improving, his best effort of a 1‘27.967s, set on lap 5/5, put him in ninth place. His 1‘24.879s FP1 time kept him in 13th place in today‘s combined rankings, 0.686s from the top.
Basically, I think we’re having the same struggles as we had in Brno. We’re missing something overall to make the tyres work, and we and Michelin are working very hard to try to understand what we need to do to improve the bike and the feeling with the tyres. So, tomorrow we are going to try something new on the bike to see if we can do better. If it’s wet in FP3 tomorrow, we’ll go into wet mode and try to understand which are the best tyres for the wet, because also for the wet tyre allocation we have a soft and medium option. At this track you have hard braking, so that plays a role in the decision making. If it’s dry tomorrow morning, we’ll do a time attack to try to get into Q2.
This morning’s FP1 was a fully dry session and we were able to work. This track is very particular, and it’s particularly important to be strong in braking, so you need to balance the bike especially for that. But what I saw this morning was that this year everybody is very strong. We have to improve, especially in sector 3. We had planned to try something different this afternoon, but unfortunately it was very difficult to get any work done because of the mixed conditions. So, in conclusion, the FP2 session wasn’t very helpful for our understanding. Tomorrow we need to do a good FP3, because it will be crucial to be in the top 10. I don’t think that will be easy, because everybody is there. At the moment the forecast for tomorrow afternoon predicts rain, not a lot, similar to what we had today. For sure, if that’s the case, anything is possible.