Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales ventured out on the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit in the first free practice sessions of the weekend, riding in various conditions to secure eighth and tenth respectively in today's combined session timesheets.
Le Mans (France), 19th May 2017
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team riders started their quests at the Grand Prix de France today with the first free practice sessions, ahead of Sunday's race. Valentino Rossi showed a solid pace in the mixed conditions and landed eighth place in the combined session times, slightly ahead of teammate Maverick Viñales, who posted the tenth fastest time.
Rossi was true to his word, spoken in the run-up to the weekend in Le Mans. He wanted to make a strong start to the French GP and he quickly matched his pace with the front runners. Having breached into the top5, he shifted his attention to the setting of his YZR-M1. With the track drying and the pace picking up, he set a best time of 1'40.894s for eighth place, 3.427s from first.
The soaking wet conditions in the afternoon, didn’t stop the Doctor booking progress. He quickly moved up to provisional second place and spent the remaining 30 minutes focusing on improving his setting before putting it to the test in the final stages. He wrapped up the second session with a tenth fastest time of 1'43.006s, 1.333s from the front and held on to eighth place in the combined standings, thanks to his morning time.
Viñales started the morning session with the goal to continue the progress made in the Jerez test and spurted to the top of the timesheets 15 minutes into FP1, with a 1’42.546s. He spent the rest of the time comparing settings, bettering his fastest lap to a 1’41.307s in the process, and finished in tenth place, 3.840s from the front.
The Spaniard was quick to pick up where he left off during FP2, this time in full wet conditions after a midday downpour. He soon moved into the top4 as he continued to perfect the set-up of his YZR-M1. He saved his best for his last stint and dropped a 1'42.894s to end FP2 in eighth place, 1.221s from the top. Unable to improve on his fastest lap from this morning, he remained in tenth position in the combined standings.