Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi got off to a good start at the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit, securing sixth and seventh place respectively in the combined Free Practice results, ahead of this weekend's Gran Premio de la República Argentina.

Termas de Río Hondo (Argentina), 6th April 2018

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team showed competitive form on the first day of riding at the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit. Maverick Viñales felt good on his bike at the start of the Gran Premio de la República Argentina and ultimately wrapped up the day in sixth place in the combined standings. Valentino Rossi also showed good pace, positioning his YZR-M1 towards the top of the rankings for most of the free practice sessions, and went on to secure seventh position overall.

 

Chasing a second consecutive win on Argentine soil, Viñales was determined to position himself as a key protagonist early on in the weekend. The self-confessed fan of the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit soon found a good feeling aboard his YZR-M1 in FP1. Though he had to hold back due to traffic on track, the 23-year-old continued to make progress. His best time, a 1'41.224s, earned him 13th place, 0.921s from the front.

 

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP youngster intended on working hard in the afternoon to make another step and earn himself a placement within the top-10. Damp track conditions formed a challenge for the Spaniard, but he worked his magic towards the end of the session when the track started to dry. Despite the difficult weather circumstances he improved on his morning time by 0.714s, when he posted a 1’40.510s, moving up to sixth place, with a 1.115s margin to the leading time.

 

Rossi's name was found at the top of the standings early on in the first 45-minute free practice session. Feeling comfortable on his bike in the cooler conditions, he gradually improved his pace and finished FP1 taking seventh place with a best lap of 1'40.825s, 0.522s to first.

 

The afternoon saw more of the same from the Doctor. He dropped a 1'43.034s for provisional first place in the first few laps. He then worked on the tyres, electronics and balance of the bike to prepare a race set-up, until spots of rain interrupted the FP2 proceedings. He held seventh place when track action picked up again in the second half of the session. He further improved his time to 1'40.577s, but remained in seventh position as the chequered flag came out, 1.182s from the top.    

 

Today's FP1 and FP2 results see Viñales and Rossi take 6th and 7th place respectively in the combined timesheets. Tomorrow they will be back on track from 10:55 - 11:40 local track time (GMT-3) for Free Practice 3, followed by Free Practice 4 from 14:30 - 15:00 and the qualifying sessions from 15:10 - 15:50.

Massimo Meregalli

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

The first free practice sessions are always tricky here, because the surface requires the riders to put some rubber on the track first in FP1. During FP2 we lost a bit of time due to spots of rain, but luckily it held off, so we were still able to get work done in preparation for tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race. Maverick was feeling comfortable in the morning. Though he didn’t have the same feeling in the afternoon, he was still able to move up to sixth place in the combined rankings during FP2. Vale has been consistently fast throughout the day and is quite pleased with the bike. Even though we started the weekend in the right way, we still have some work to do, especially concerning braking and corner entry, to close the gap. We expect the track conditions to improve during the weekend, but the weather for tomorrow remains uncertain, which makes a top-10 result for both riders in the combined FP1-FP2 standings all the more important. 

Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider

My feelings today have been mixed. I felt quite confident on the bike this morning, but honestly, I didn’t feel the same way in the afternoon. I was happy that, in the end, I provisionally qualified for Q2 in FP2, because it was difficult. Tomorrow, if it rains, it would have been tricky to get inside the top-10. We have to work in order to close the gap to our opponents, so we have to stay focused. 

Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider

The main target was to stay inside the top-10, because the weather is very difficult to predict - this is very important. I'm quite happy about my pace with the harder tyres, because I feel comfortable with the bike. I put the soft on in the end but, unfortunately, I wasn't able to improve like I expected. With the softer tyre I didn't feel very good. We have to manage this problem, especially tomorrow for the qualifying. We also have to wait for the weather, because it's difficult to understand what will happen and I hope it will be dry.