Viñales and Rossi show competitive form on San Marino GP Friday
It was all blue skies for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi on the opening day of the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. The team-mates made a strong start on the resurfaced Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, taking 2nd and 6th place respectively in the combined free practice timesheets.
Viñales had led the morning session by 0.550s, leaving him confident enough to fully focus on the race pace of his YZR-M1 in the afternoon without clocking a serious time attack. He completed 25 laps to get his bike ready for the team‘s home race this Sunday. He put in a 1‘32.742s on his penultimate lap, taking sixth place, 0.553s from the top. However, his time from this morning was faster. The 1‘32.198s earned him 2nd in the combined free practice results, just 0.009s from first.
Rossi was in his element riding at a track just 10 kilometers from his home in Tavullia. The morning stint had given him a good first impression of the new asphalt, and he found further setting improvements in the afternoon. Cheered on by the fans in the grandstands, he used the session to set a 1‘32.732s on lap 20/21 for fifth place in the FP2 results. The lap earned him 6th place in today‘s combined rankings, 0.543s off today‘s best time.
The feelings were fantastic! In FP1 I did an amazing lap, and in FP2 I was focusing on the race rhythm. My rhythm is really good. I was able to set a very fast lap time at the end of the long run. For the time attack I rode with a used front tyre. I just tried a fresh soft rear tyre to see what the feeling is like, because tomorrow we‘re going to push. I‘m quite happy, I think we can do a good job here in Misano. It‘s important that we prepare well for the race, because it‘s going to be hard with many riders going very fast. But today I felt really good on the bike and like I had something more to give. We‘re going to start the race pushing hard from the beginning, and then we‘ll see. I will ride the race at the maximum at every corner on every lap.
Today was a good Friday. It looks like our bike is more competitive here, and we can be stronger. Especially in the afternoon I wasn’t so bad, also with the pace. We need to give the maximum, because we can fight for a good result. We have to improve in some places, but I feel good with my bike, and at the end I did a good time attack. The P5 I got in FP2 is a good position for the first day. It will be very important to stay inside the top 10 tomorrow morning, so this is our next target. Misano is always a bit tricky. They did a very good job with the new asphalt, because it has very good grip and there are less bumps, but there are some bad ones in some places. There were more bumps with the previous asphalt, but they were smaller. For me, Misano is always special, because it’s really my home Grand Prix. I live 10 kilometers from here. I grew up here in Misano. To have a small crowd at the track is very important, because it completely changes the atmosphere, and it’s a good step for the future, so we go back to the normal situation as soon as possible.