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Unlucky Friday 13th? Not for Yamaha at the GP Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini after Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) topped the Friday times from Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), with Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli joining their teammates in the top five at Misano.
FP2 saw Viñales and Quartararo set the pace as the duo were split by a slender 0.057, the Spaniard and Frenchman sitting over three tenths clear of their nearest competitor – Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Yamaha have seemingly picked up where they left off at the Misano Test and speaking after Friday’s track action, Viñales explains how he hit the ground running from the word go in FP1.
Day 1 MotoGP™ recap: Yamaha vs Marquez
“I felt really good straight away this morning,” began a happy Viñales. “We tried new things in the afternoon, but it’s not clear if they are better so we came back [to our usual configuration], we rode as we always do. I found a really good grip with the new tyre and I felt really good. It was very positive, so we’ll try to keep the same mindset and keep working.”
Both Viñales and Rossi tested several new parts at the test, and both we seen using those on Friday. One of those was the Suzuki-style duel exhaust, something Rossi used throughout Friday, but an item Viñales didn’t: “It still needs more laps, a better understanding, and then we’ll see. We will continue working on it in Aragon FP1 and then we’ll see. Right now, we haven’t discarded anything, because there are positives and negatives, but we still need more laps.”
At the test, Quartararo was the pacesetter. In FP1, the 20-year-old sat 0.446 clear of Viñales but the latter edged him out when the soft rubber was put in at the end of FP2. Overall, the rookie had a positive day despite the grip not being there.
Quartararo: "It was a really strange moment..."
“It was a positive day. The track was quite tricky this morning and this afternoon, the grip was much lower than in the test,” commented Quartararo, who had a huge scare at the fast right kink towards the end of FP1.
“We need a bit of time for the Moto2 and Moto3 riders to “clean” the track a little bit and leave some rubber. We need to get more grip. But overall we didn’t have a bad pace. We did three fast laps with the soft tyre. We still have a little bit of work because we’re not feeling extremely good.
“I had a very small moment on the front and lost my foot-peg a bit. As soon as I got out of the curb I lost my foot completely. That was a really strange moment, but at least we didn’t crash at one of the fastest corners on the track.”
What's new on Rossi's M1 at Misano?
And what about home hero Rossi? ‘The Doctor’ applauded a ‘good Friday’ for both he and Yamaha, but admits there’s still work to be done after finishing 0.6 off his teammate. “Yeah! It’s a little bit of a surprise for us, to see all the Yamahas very fast and also with the different configurations between us and the Petronas team,” reflected the nine-time World Champion.
“It looks like our bike is very competitive here. We have good grip and good acceleration, this is so positive. For me, personally, we still have a lot of work to do, I don’t feel fantastic with the balance, with the setting. I need a bit more grip, but it’s a good Friday. To have all the Yamahas here at the front is great. We’ll try to continue.”
Can Rossi bring it home after strong start at Misano
Fellow Italian Morbidelli completed a solid day to sit just 0.054 off Rossi as Yamaha dominate Day 1 at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Championship leader Marquez is the only rider to have penetrated the Yamaha stronghold so far, but can anyone else force their way past Viñales, Quartararo, Rossi or Morbidelli on Saturday?
The final push for an automatic Q2 place takes place at 09:55 local time (GMT+2). Who will lead the way into qualifying?
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