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It’s safe to say Friday at the GoPro British Grand Prix was one of great satisfaction in the Yamaha camp. Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo smashed the Silverstone lap record in FP2, with Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP duo Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi finishing inside the top four on Day 1.
MotoGP™ riders marvel at the new Silverstone surface
It was also a solid day for Franco Morbidelli, the Petronas Yamaha SRT man claimed P7 on the combined times to ensure all four YZR-M1s were at the business end of the times. Teammate Quartararo will once again steal most of the headlines though after another scintillating display on a track he’s never visited on a premier class thoroughbred. The Frenchman crucified the lap record after setting a 1:59.225 to – eventually – top the times after his lap was initially ruled to have been in breach of track limits. Photo examination cleared both Quartararo and Rossi of any wrongdoing and so it’s the rookie sensation who sits P1 heading into Saturday.
“My last two laps were really on the limit,” began Quartararo. “Really, really happy because when you make this kind of lap time that was really fast you want to be on P1 and it was like two centimetres, so it’s good that they put it back. I was really frustrated but, in the end, it’s good that they put it back and it means we’re quite safe for tomorrow for Q2, which is really positive. Really happy about this first day and we’ll work even harder tomorrow. I know we can improve the lap time tomorrow.”
Quartararo on the limit to set Silverstone stunner
Silverstone’s resurfacing was one factor that has enabled all three classes to set new lap records on Day 1, and the 20-year-old was full of praise of the new asphalt.
“For me, the track is really amazing. There are still a few corners where you feel the bumps but nothing like last year. Everything is really good, really flat with a lot of grip, so they did a good job.”
Viñales is also impressed with the new surface and despite a crash at Stowe during FP1, the Spaniard seemed pleased with how Day 1 went, finishing Friday in third place.
Viñales: "The front row will be very important"
“Well actually I think the new surface is much better, we’re riding much faster. I had a little issue in FP1 with the front tyre, which caused the crash, but we understood why very fast, so it’s solved. We need to keep working though still as the electronics are very inconsistent, so we must keep working hard on that area.”
2015 British GP winner Rossi got his weekend off to a great start also, claiming P4 on the timesheets after having his laptime reinstated. And it was a good job it was too, else the nine-time World Champion would have had plenty of work to do on Saturday morning to get into the automatic Q2 places.
“It’s a good start, it’s a good Friday. In both sessions I had a good pace and a good feeling with bike,” commented an upbeat Rossi. “In the end, I did a good lap but I was really, really on the limit with the white line. From the bike I had the feeling that I’d touched but they received an image and gave me back the lap time, which is very important for the morning. We need to work and improve but it looks like we’re in a good shape and to stay P4 is not too bad.
Rossi set to make a stand at Silverstone
“The track is great, they did a great job. There’s less bumps and more grip, so it’s great. It’s a big step. First of all, there is good grip but the biggest difference is the bumps because usually Silverstone is always bumpy but now it is very flat, so you can use all the track and the lap times are much faster.”
Good reviews from ‘The Doctor’ about the track too then. But what did Morbidelli think about his Day 1 P7, and the circuit? “Today we worked a bit on the bike. We worked to improve the feeling with the rear tyre. We improved but there’s still room to improve. For the first day though, it went pretty well I’d say.
“It’s quite nice. The track is smooth. It’s nice to ride with this surface as you can really feel and enjoy riding on this amazing track, so I’m very happy. I hope to improve some more tomorrow because we don’t feel great in some areas. Already the speed is not too bad though, the speed with a used medium is good too but there’s room to improve.”
MotoGP™ by numbers: Stats for the British GP
Find out if Yamaha can continue to light up Silverstone when FP3 begins on Saturday morning at 09:55 local time (GMT+1).