Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed solid pace today in the first two free practice sessions ahead of Sunday's Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley. Despite grip issues in the morning and an eventful afternoon session, they booked steady progress and finished in second and seventh place in the combined standings.
Scarperia (Italy), 1st June 2018
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales started the weekend as the second fastest man after day one at the Autodromo del Mugello. Teammate Valentino Rossi was also on the pace as he prepared for Sunday's Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley. The pair finished in second and seventh place respectively in the combined FP standings.
Viñales had a less than ideal start to the GP weekend in today's FP1 session. He suffered a small crash but was uninjured and OK to continue the session. He used his frustration to boost his performance and set his personal fastest time of the morning, a 1’47.995s, on lap 7/18, for third place. He spent the remainder of the session working on his bike’s set-up and ended in fourth place, 0.742s from the top.
The Spaniard continued to improve his form in the afternoon. Despite the FP2 session being red flagged twice, he was able to make steps forward and took the top spot with a flying 1’47.122s lap, three minutes before the chequered flag. Various riders also put in a soft rear tyre at the end of the session, but the Yamaha rider's time was fast enough to earn him second place, 0.387s from first.
Rossi started the morning off by swiftly moving into third place. However, as a lack of grip in the cooler conditions caught out various MotoGP riders, the Doctor decided to focus mainly on mixing and comparing setting solutions found during the recent Mugello and Montmeló tests. His fastest time, a 1’48.218s, took him up to eighth place in the FP1 rankings, 0.965s off the front.
Determined to position himself as a key protagonist for this weekend in front of his home fans, the Italian was on the pace right from the start of FP2. With the increased temperatures, he was quick to secure second place. However, midway through the afternoon practice, incidents disrupted proceedings, which had the entire MotoGP field anxious to put in a fast time in the final 22 minutes of the session. Despite running into traffic during a hot lap, Rossi posted a 1’47.445s, 0.710s from the top, and finished in seventh place both in the FP2 and combined free practice timesheets.