Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi kicked off the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich today, securing 2nd and 13th place respectively in the combined free practice session times.
Spielberg (Austria), 11th August 2017
Due to looming clouds and a persistent threat of rain, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team had to make every dry minute of today's free practice sessions count, ahead of this weekend's NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were fast to find their rhythm in the quite cool conditions, taking 2nd and 13th position respectively in the combined times.
This morning Viñales calmly prepared for Sunday's race at the Red Bull Ring - Spielberg, steadily upping his pace. He consistently posted lap times within the 1'25s, only to turn up the heat a notch on his last run in the final mini time attack. He set a 1'24.752s for fourth place, 0.121s from the front, making sure of a provisional spot in the top-10 in case of rain in the afternoon and tomorrow morning.
The young gun again displayed his patience before pouncing at the right moment in the afternoon session. A wet spot in turn 3 made it impossible for the riders to improve their time, despite the rest of the track being dry. Having seen this from his pit box, Viñales bided his time until, with 25 minutes of the available time left, the sun came out and the track was ready for action. The Spaniard was quickly on the pace and continued to work hard, concluding the session with a 1’24.280s lap for second place, 0.234s from first.
Though not feeling 100% fit, teammate Rossi stuck to the same approach he had at the previous Grand Prix weekend. He worked diligently on his bike’s setting in FP1, to be fully prepared for the qualifying tomorrow. Focusing on improvement, he ended the morning practice with a best time of 1'25.251s for 12th place, 0.620s from the top of the timesheets.
Once the track dried midway through FP2, the Doctor used the second session to fine-tune the balance of his bike, to match it to the Austrian circuit’s layout and the expected weather variations for this weekend. The Italian rider pushed hard at the end of the session to improve on his morning time by 0.368s, posting a 1'24.883s lap, for twelfth position in the FP2 results. He ended the first day of practice in 13th place in the overall standings, 0.837s from first.