Today the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team put their YZR-M1s to the test under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit, and with success. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi worked through a few test items, but mainly focused on their bikes' set-up on the first day of the Qatar MotoGP Test. They took first and fifth place respectively.
Losail (Qatar), 23rd February 2019
Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi got back in the saddle today at the Losail International Circuit to commence the final three-day preseason test before the start of the 2019 season on 10 March. The riders were back in their element when they swung their legs over their bikes and completed the first day of riding in first and fifth place respectively.

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1s looked even more impressive under the floodlights in Qatar. Notably, the bikes featured a special India Yamaha Motor (IYM) Pvt Ltd. logo on the front, just for the Qatar test, as the company are currently celebrating the start of their new brand campaign 'THE CALL OF THE BLUE'. 

Viñales was quickly up to speed. The Spaniard had been looking forward to continuing the work he had started at the Sepang test two weeks ago. The conditions today were very different due to the cooler night temperatures, making for excellent circumstances to further examine his bike's settings. His hard work paid off. He set the best time of the day, a 1'55.051s, on lap 48/50, topping the timesheets with a 0.108s-margin over his closest rival.

Rossi was also eager to get back to work and followed the same strategy as his teammate, using the early hours of the evening to get most of the work done, before putting his head down about an hour before the end of the session. The Doctor knows like no other how important thorough experimenting can be, and he availed himself of today's opportunity to finetune his bike, especially since the current conditions should be similar to those expected for the upcoming race, held in a fortnight's time. The Italian dropped a 1'55.604s on lap 42/47 to end the day 0.553s behind his teammate.
Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

“I'm really happy, because I felt really good on the bike, especially my riding style. I felt comfortable on the bike and for me that's the most important. This year at four different tracks I felt comfortable on the bike and we could push quite a lot. I'm happy about how we worked today. We haven't done much testing, we tried just to focus on the main things and found a bit more grip and tried to understand which way to go. Now we have to make a plan for tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

“The first day of testing wasn't too bad. We worked in a good way and in the end I finished with a P5, that's quite good. We did different work here, we worked more for the Grand Prix, so we had to improve the setting of the bike and the first feelings are not so bad. Already the lap time is quite good. There are some places on track where I have to push more, to bring the bike to the limit, but the first impression is quite positive.”