Cautious start for Maverick Viñales on soaked opening day at Jerez
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales treated the Circuito de Jerez with great care today, as he found himself in wet to intermediate conditions during the first free practice sessions of the Gran Premio de España.
Maverick Viñales started the fourth round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship today at an overcast Circuito de Jerez. While rain dampened the pace in FP1, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider rounded up the FP2 session in Spanish sunshine, taking sixth place respectively and the same position in the combined time sheets.
Eager to claim a position in the top ten at the end of the first day, Viñales headed out on track to get familiar with the circuit. However, wet track conditions and persistent rain meant he had to stay cautious. The Spaniard was aware that the weather was predicted to clear up later in the day, so he took no unnecessary risks and set a best time of 1’52.555s, 0.907s from first, earning him tenth place.
The young gun made great progress in the afternoon when the sun came out. He improved to a 1‘41.718s and was on course to better his position, when a small crash in turn nine lost him some track time.
Fortunately uninjured, Viñales hurried back to the pit box. This slight set-back didn’t stop him from pushing at the end of the session, when he set a 1‘40.379s lap for sixth place, 0.959s from first.
“I‘m OK. I went a little bit outside of the race line and there were some wet patches. As I told the team, I didn‘t have the chance to pick up the bike again, so I crashed. Anyway, after I exited pit lane again, I was feeling good with the bike. We still have to improve some areas, but I‘m quite happy overall, we did a good lap time. Finally for tomorrow, we have to make a good FP3 to go directly into Q2, so we still have to do some work. I tried the aero-fairing, but we still have to try it again tomorrow, because today the track was 50/50 and it was difficult to understand if it was better or not.”