|Scarperia (Italy), 2nd June 2017|
|Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were back on track for the first free practice sessions at the Autodromo del Mugello. Viñales was in fine form in the morning, but a crash in the afternoon cost him valuable track time, leaving him in fifth position in the combined timesheets. Rossi focused on both getting a feel for the track and assessing his condition ahead of this weekend’s Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, and set the fourteenth fastest time of the day.
Still in good spirits from his victory in Le Mans, Viñales showed a strong pace in the 45-minute morning session. With a clear track in front of him, he was quick to find a good setting and topped the standings for most of the time with a 1’47.669s lap, until various riders put in a soft tyre towards the end of FP1. However, the young Spaniard underlined how fast his race pace is, as he held third place when the chequered flag came out, 0.275s off the front.
The afternoon saw a similar start to the proceedings. The number 25 rider was quick to ride his YZR-M1 to second place in the rankings, but a fast crash, 13 minutes into the session at turn 9, lost him some valuable practice time. Despite not being able to use FP2 to the fullest, Viñales was quickly back into the groove when he headed out on his second bike and in fresh leathers. He wrapped up FP2 in thirteenth place, with a 1’48.014s lap on his last try, 0.649s from first.
Local hero Rossi was also out on track in the Tuscan sunshine this morning and impressed with his brave performance as he prepared for his first home race of the season. Despite the fact that he‘s still recovering from injury, the Italian completed 15 laps and tested various settings for his YZR-M1 throughout the morning practice, to finish in fifteenth place with a best lap of 1’48.513s, 1.119s off the fastest time.
The nine-time World Champion further improved in FP2. Encouraged by the loud cheering of the Italian fans, he gradually quickened his pace. He used the afternoon session to further fine-tune his bike‘s setting and finished strong, in twelfth place, with a fastest lap of 1’48.000s, 0.513s faster than his best time of FP1 and 0.635s from the FP2 leader.
Today‘s results see Viñales placed fifth in the combined session times, 0.304s from the front, with Rossi infourteenth, 0.635s off today’s fastest time.