It was a successful Friday at COTA for both Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™) and teammate Valentino Rossi, with both riders ending the day in the top five on the combined practice times. Just 0.095 seconds separated the pair, with the Spaniard finishing in P3, one place ahead of the number 46 in fourth.
The former Moto3™ World Champion was fairly happy with how his opening day panned out. “FP2 went quite well and I’m quite happy overall, even considering we didn’t try the soft at the end because in the beginning, I didn’t feel good on the soft in the first laps.”
Viñales – who is looking for his first podium of the season this weekend - is hoping he can find a good feeling with the softer compound tyre. “I still think we have good potential on the soft, so I think we still have margin to improve.” The four-time premier class winner was hopeful he and his team can go quicker as the weekend progresses. “We started better than we did on the previous two tracks. I hope we can go faster and have a bit more of a stable bike for tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Rossi was happy he and his side of the garage found a solution to their acceleration issues. “Yes it was a positive day because I was quite fast in both practice sessions, I feel good with the bike, we worked a lot to improve the acceleration. We tried something different and its better, I’m quite happy about this.”
Similar to his teammate, the nine-time World Champion was concerned about tyres ahead of Sunday’s race. “For me, the bigger question mark is about the tyres, especially from the rear, because we have minimum two option front and two option rear open for the race, and it looks like the weather forecast for tomorrow is not fantastic, we don’t have enough time to understand well so it will be very important to make the right choice.”
The rain is set to cause a few headaches for the riders on Saturday, just like it did in Argentina. Can the Yamahas sustain their positive start to the Americas GP? FP3 gets underway at 09:55local time, with the all-important qualifying starting at 14:10 local time (GMT -5).