The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team weren’t fazed by today’s mixed conditions in the Grand Prix de France free practices. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi adapted smoothly from the morning’s full wet session to a drying Le Mans track in the afternoon. Viñales secured second place in the combined Friday FP results. Rossi was unlucky to have his fastest lap cancelled. He holds 12th place.
Le Mans (France), 9th October 2020
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team were quick to adapt to the cold and mixed conditions at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit as they used today’s free practice sessions to prepare for Sunday's Grand Prix de France. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi continued the positive momentum gained in FP1 in this afternoon’s FP2, but with mixed outcomes. Viñales’ final push earned him 2nd place in the combined timesheets. Rossi was set to take fifth place in the rankings, but his best lap was later cancelled under the 2020 yellow flag rule, dropping him back to 12th position.

Already thinking ahead to tomorrow’s qualifying, Viñales wanted to optimise his chances for a place in Q2 and aimed to make full use of the drier FP2 after this morning’s wet FP1. He was determined to obtain a top-10 result, especially since the temperature in FP3 is expected to be colder. The Spaniard spent most of the session tweaking his bike’s settings to make them suit the mixed track conditions before putting them to the test in the final stages. He wrapped up his outing with a 1’34.500s, set on lap 15/15. The time earned him second place in both the FP2 and the combined free practice rankings, 0.144s from first.

Rossi started FP2 on slick tyres, but he soon had to return to the box as the track wasn’t quite dry enough. He then completed a few laps on wet tyres waiting for the right moment to return to the slicks. Meanwhile, he continued to perfect the set-up of his YZR-M1, all the while featuring inside the top 10. In the last minutes of the session he gave an extra push. His best time of 1'35.012s, set on lap 22/22, originally put him in fifth place. However, the lap was later cancelled due to the 2020 yellow flag rule. His next best time, a 1’35.767s, put him in 12th place in the FP2 and combined timesheets, 1.411s off today’s fastest time.
Massimo Meregalli

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

Today’s circumstances were quite difficult, as expected when coming to Le Mans at this time of year. It was cold and wet, and the track conditions also changed in the afternoon when the circuit was drying. This makes it very tricky to ride here. It’s easy for the riders to make a mistake, and the punishment doesn’t always fit the crime in these conditions. But, so far, we are satisfied with the work we’ve done. Maverick and Valentino are as comfortable as we can expect them to be on a mixed day like today. It's a shame that Vale's last lap was cancelled, else we would have had both riders comfortably inside the top 10. We expect that tomorrow's FP3 session will be dry and, though it will be cold, we will be fully focused on getting both riders in Q2 straight away.
Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

These were very difficult conditions on the slick tyres. I tried to keep pushing, but it was hard to make a good lap time. In the end I found a way. I’m happy that I already have a provisional place in Q2. Today was positive, and I felt good overall. For sure, there’s still work to do, but as we couldn’t push 100% with these track conditions, we don’t know for sure if the bike is good like it is or if it needs further changes. But what I like about the bike is that I could ride fast, both on a wet and on a drying track, which is always very important. I hope for better weather tomorrow, so we can fully push, because I love this track and I want to ride at my best here.
Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

I like the track, but today was a very tricky day in difficult conditions. Because it was half wet, half dry, and especially very cold. This morning was better because it was wet, so you could use wet tyres. But this afternoon with mixed conditions you had to use the slicks. You have to push, but at the same time it’s really cold, and the track had some wet patches. It was dangerous and you needed to pay attention. But my feeling is not so bad. In the two practices I was quite fast. I had a good pace and a good feeling with the bike. Unfortunately, in the last lap I took the yellow flag, if not I would have been in P5. Now we hope that tomorrow, and especially Sunday, will be dry and a little warmer and then we’ll see.