Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Teams Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales reported for duty today at the start of the Phillip Island MotoGP Official Test. The teammates were back on track to build on the results from the three-day Sepang test a few weeks ago.
Rossi didn't waste a second to make full use of the testing opportunity at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. He slotted into third place in the timesheets early on in the test and got down to work. He fine-tuned his bikes setting in the morning to deal with the strong winds at the Australian coastline, improving his pace.
The Doctor completed 77 laps, which he used to assess the frames and fairings as well as various other small details for his YZR-M1s set-up. Though his focus was on comparing the test items, he still found time to put in a time attack at the end of the eight-hour session. The Italian wrapped up the first day in second place with a best lap time of 129.683s, just 0.186s from the front.
Teammate Viñales was up for the challenge of repeating his strong ride of two weeks ago and needed little time to get back into the swing of things. Immediately in a good rhythm, he was quick to top the timesheets at the start of the test.
As the temperatures started to rise and the pace of the field picked up, the young Spaniard was quick to respond. He smoothly cruised back to first place on the leader board with an impressive 129.989s on lap 26/64, before focusing on further improving the balance of his YZR-M1. With only one other rider dropping under the 130 mark in the first seven hours, he held second position for most of the session, until a flurry of activity in the final stages saw him pushed him back to fourth place, 0.492s from first.
Massimo Meregalli - Team director, Yamaha Motor Racing
"This was the first day on Phillip Island, which is a very different track compared to Sepang. The difference in circuit lay-outs makes it important to evaluate the items we tested two weeks ago in Malaysia. Despite the strong wind, as soon as the riders found a good base set-up, they started the comparison of the frames, the fairings and other different settings, with important results. The feedback from the riders has also been positive and both are feeling confident and comfortable on the bike. This is further underlined by both riders dipping under the 130s mark. Vale ended the day with a good 129.683s lap on new tyres and Maverick had a strong pace right from the start this morning, when he set a 129s lap in cooler conditions. One of the main tasks for this test will be to do a race simulation, which is important for us. Weve been waiting to be able to complete a long run since Sepang and we would like to do it with both riders. If the circumstances allow it, we will start working on this target tomorrow."
Maverick Viñales - 4th 1'29.989 / 64 LAPS
"About today, I think I can be happy in one area. On the race pace and basic set-up we made a good step, I feel comfortable. We didnt set a fast lap time at the end of the session, in the last ten minutes we went back in the box. We still have time until Qatar to be fast and try to improve the bike and I think our objective here is to be consistent and really fast."
Valentino Rossi - 2nd 1'29.683 / 77 LAPS
"It was a good day, Im quite satisfied. We started in a difficult way this morning. Before the break I wasnt strong enough and because I couldnt push at the maximum I didnt have a lot of feeling. We worked well during the break and in the afternoon the situation changed, I was a bit better. At the end, with the new tyre, I was able to do a good lap and second position is positive for the first day. For sure, we still have a lot to do, especially on the long distance and we hope to have good weather also in the next few days."