Maverick Viñales finds form in French free practice
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales carried out his usual strategy, gradually building up his speed throughout the free practice sessions. At the end of FP1 he made it clear he is set on being a strong contender this weekend when he posted a provisional fastest lap on used tyres, and kept up the good work in the afternoon when he took fourth place in the combined timings.
Viñales was looking strong in the cooler first free practice. Having found a good basis for his bike at the start of FP1, it only took him four minutes to put his Yamaha on the number one spot. After spending most of the remainder of the session trying further setting options, he successfully put the final result to the test at the end. The young gun set the provisional fastest time in fourfold in the final few minutes to ultimately take over at the top of the timesheets with a best lap of 1’32.543s. This time was strong enough to secure him third place, 0.067s from the leader, when the chequered flag came out.
The Spaniard kept chipping away at his provisional fastest lap time from FP1 in the afternoon. He first put in some testing labour again, preferring to use the start of the session to try new set-up changes for his Yamaha, before putting his head down in the later stages. Like clockwork, he went into the pits with ten minutes remaining, to make a quick tyre change before setting his best lap of the day, a 1’32.204s, for fourth place, 0.268s from the top of the timesheets.
As nearly all MotoGP riders improved their times in the afternoon session, Rossi and Viñales hold their third and fourth place respectively in the combined free practice timesheets.
“This afternoon we tried some new things that didn‘t work, so we lost a lot of time in the box. I couldn‘t get into the rhythm, especially with the medium front tyre, because I need to do a couple of laps on it to trust it. However, at the end I felt good and did a good two laps, it was consistent. For tomorrow, I think we still have things to improve on, but the bike is working well all around the track and I feel comfortable on it. I‘m quite confident that I can fight for a good place in qualifying tomorrow. In FP2 the bike was working quite good, I just don‘t think we used the best tyre option. Overall I‘m happy, because the rhythm is there when I push, so I can make a good lap time. Let‘s see what happens tomorrow, but so far I feel good.”