New fairing, old speed for Yamaha in Buriram?

Viñales and Rossi finished 1-2 in FP1 with the Spaniard P2 overall on Friday, as ‘The Doctor’ sported a new fairing in FP2

Both Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and teammate Valentino Rossi enjoyed a positive opening day at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, with the duo locking out the top two positions in FP1 before the Spaniard claimed P2 on the overall timesheets in the afternoon – ‘The Doctor’ meanwhile finished P9 in FP2 while testing a new Yamaha fairing.

Ahead of the weekend, the number 25 said he didn’t have any expectations and despite the opening day going well, Viñales is staying grounded: “As I said, I have no expectations for the race. It’s just Friday. But, for sure, the feeling is much more positive than in Aragon,” explains the 23-year-old. “I feel better with the bike. We modified the bike quite a lot in the way I needed and that I asked for and it seems to work, at least for me, especially on the hard tyre.”

Viñales continued to debrief his day, describing how Yamaha have made the changes on his bike that he’s been wanting for a while: “I have a completely different bike. I have different weights on the bike. I ride the bike liked I asked for some months ago to try to go in another direction and, finally, we did it. We did a solid FP1 and FP2 but we’ll see tomorrow. I have no expectations.”

And what about the situation on the other side of the garage? Well, aforementioned, Rossi was second quickest in FP1 but ended the day down in P9, despite only being three tenths from Andrea Dovizioso’s (Ducati Team) fastest time. So, a positive day overall for ‘The Doctor’? “We suffered a little bit less than I expected because it was difficult in the test. Today was not so bad,” confirmed the nine-time World Champion.

He continued: “The Michelin tyres are different because they are harder, so more difficult to ride but, at the same time, more constant for the whole race because here the temperature of the asphalt can go higher than 50 degrees. But we have a lot of work to do to try to understand the best tyre for the race.”

The number 46 emerged out of the box in FP2 sporting a new fairing on his M1, but did it have the desired effect? “I tried a new fairing but I don’t know if I’ll continue to use it because I don’t feel a lot of difference but it looks like our pace is not so far from the top guys today, so we have to try to improve and we’ll see.”

Both riders are upbeat after Friday in Buriram, but will they continue their upward trajectory across the entire weekend?

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