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A strong fifth place finish has Maverick Viñales confident of a strong opening weekend after using only the hard tyres.
The Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar marks the start of the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship, Maverick Viñales overjoyed to finally be back racing. The Team Suzuki Ecstar man hit the track early for Free Practice 1, the only session for the MotoGP™ class on Thursday in Qatar. Viñales was able to continue where he left off almost a month earlier in testing, his GSX-RR starting from an already strong position. With his base setting more of less defined, Viñales took the opportunity to use the same set of tyres over 16 laps and better understand the tyre drop off.
There was some drop but overall Viñales was able to maintain decent feeling even as the lap count grew. A best time of 1’55.847 came for Viñales to put him fifth in the session and within half a second of Jorge Lorenzo’s (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) session topping time. Interestingly, Viñales’ times improved as the laps increased with his best time coming on his final lap. It seems that the Michelin tyres take several laps to get up to temperature, the start of the race could be a cautious affair.
Maverick Viñales: “It’s been a positive first session, we started from where we left-off at the tests and I feel quite confident with the bike. Today I tried only one set of tyres, with the harder compound, both to verify the performance consistency and to keep some softer for the next sessions. Although they got worn I managed to improve my lap times consistently and I scored my best at the last one, which is positive for me both for the race and for the feeling that I have. I have also tested the full seamless, but we still need to work on its set-up, our objective is to adopt it definitively as soon as possible, this is why we will continue testing and try to find a good set -up. It’s only the beginning, but my feelings are positive and the improvements are consistent, which gives me good hopes for the next days.”
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