Positive start for Viñales, Oliveira, Rins & Marquez in Japan
Repsol rider Maverick Viñales places second on opening day of practice in Japan, in which Miguel Oliveira, Álex Rins and Álex Rins finish eighth, eleventh and fifteenth, respectively.
The first practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix took place today at Motegi, beginning round fourteen of the Moto3 World Championship. Maverick Viñales began strong with the second best time of the day, progressively improving despite missing the final quarter of an hour in the second session through a crash. Oliveira, Rins and Márquez, riding in Japan for the first time, were a little further back.
On the opening run, which took place with damp patches on the track from overnight rain, Viñales undertook 14 laps and claimed the fourth best time —2’00.609. He was 0.390 behind fastest rider Jonas Folger. Miguel Oliveira was 0.893 behind the German in his first session in Japan, in ninth. He was a tenth of a second quicker than teammate Álex Rins, who placed thirteenth. Álex Márquez was twentieth after 17 laps, with his best being a 2’01.973 that was 1.7 seconds off the top.
Making steady improvement, Maverick Viñales broke the 2 minute barrier in the second session — stopping the clock on 1’59.799 to take second spot. He was 0.351 behind Sandro Cortese. However, with 14 minutes remaining in the session he lost the front on a left hander and spent the remainder of the session in his garage. Oliveira was again in the top ten with the seventh best time, less than 8 tenths off Corstese and eighth in the combined timesheet. Álex Rins and Álex Márquez were eleventh and fifteenth, respectively.
“We worked hard and analysed different options. I am very happy, because I think that we are finding a very good setting and getting towards feeling strong again. At the end of the session we had a small accident. We wanted to try a new front tyre and it didn’t work out for us. It was too hard and that caused the crash.”
“Today was a fairly positive day, as we were able to do a good job. In the first session the aim was to learn the track, as it is my first time riding here. I adapted quickly, as it is an ideal layout for my riding style. In the second session we tried to improve a few aspects of the bike, but we found a few problems with the setting. We will try to sort that out tomorrow and place higher up. The forecast is good.”
“We adapted pretty quickly to the circuit in the first session, and in the second we were able to improve our times. We still need to resolve a few things with the bike, in order to see if we can up our pace. I like Motegi; it is a track with hard braking and acceleration. It is definitely a nice track.”
“The first day in Japan was positive for us. It was my first time at Motegi and I liked the circuit.We took some important steps forward with both my riding and the bike. I feel good ahead of tomorrow and think that we can do a good job. I am motivated for qualifying. We shall see in the third practice session if we can improve on a few things to be even better prepared.”
Source: Repsol Media