Rain Spoils Practice Proceedings for Movistar Yamaha at the Red Bull Ring

Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Today Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi prepared for an intense weekend at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg track. They had to adapt to dry as well as wet conditions in the first two practice sessions and wrapped up the day in 10th and 11th place respectively in the combined Free Practice timesheets.

Copyright 2018 Yamaha Motor Racing Srl
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Spielberg, Austria – 10th August 2018
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1’24.835 (FP1) / 19 + 8 LAPS
Nome pilota
1’24.835 (FP1) / 20 + 14 LAPS
Spielberg (Austria), 10th August 2018
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi used the first dry free practice session to get a base set-up for the race locked ahead of Sunday‘s eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, whilst in the afternoon they had to switch to full-wet settings and cope with completely changed track conditions. Their results from FP1 put them in 10th and 11th place respectively in the combined Free Practice timesheets.


The looming rain clouds at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg track put some extra time pressure on this morning‘s FP1. Viñales was eager to start work on his bike‘s race setting as rain was expected for the afternoon. He upped his pace gradually and took tenth place in FP1, with a 1’24.835s best lap, 1.005s from the front.


The Spaniard took his time to get up to speed in the afternoon. He waited to see how a few other riders fared out on the wet track, before deciding to also brave the conditions. However, he remained careful not to cross the limit, as he had only recently recovered from his crash in Brno. He still made progress and ultimately secured 20th place with a fastest lap of 1’38.174s and a 4.179s margin to first.


Teammate Rossi delivered a productive FP1 session despite losing some vital practice time due to a broken rear sprocket on his first run. Once he returned back out on track, the Italian climbed the provisional results list and regularly featured inside the top-10 in the morning. However, a last-minute “mini shoot-out” by most of the rider field, in anticipation of the predicted rain, saw the number 46 rider end FP1 in 11th place with a 1’24.884s, 1.054s from the top of the timesheets. 


With the weather conditions taking a turn for the worse at the start of FP2, the Doctor stayed inside the pit box for a while but couldn’t fight the urge to head out. He was the fourth rider to leave pit lane to gather some extra data in wet conditions. He was able to improve his time more and more, to conclude the afternoon with a best time of 1’36.327s. He finished 2.332s from the top, securing 10th position.


With no time improvements being made in FP2, Viñales and Rossi ended the day in 10th and 11th place respectively in the combined timesheets.


The Austrian track will never be easy for us, but today’s sessions also didn’t help. The riders struggled to find a good feeling in the dry morning session and, unfortunately, we couldn’t try the solutions we had planned in the afternoon because of the rain. Nevertheless, we were able to use FP2 to work on our performance level in wet conditions, which is useful as we haven’t done many wet sessions this season so far. Since we weren’t able to fully exploit today’s practice time, we will have to push extra hard tomorrow. We hope for a dry FP3, so we can take full advantage of those 45 minutes and prepare for Sunday’s race.
Especially the morning was difficult, we had some problems, but we kept working and tried to solve everything we could. For the afternoon we had many things planned to try, but finally it was wet and we didn‘t have really good feelings, so we need to keep pushing.
For me the biggest issue is that I’m not inside the top-10 on the dry. Unfortunately, I had a problem with one bike and had to stop. I had to use the other bike, but it had some things that were different, and I wasn’t able to arrive inside the top-10. This can create a problem to improve the lap time tomorrow morning if the conditions aren’t 100%. On the wet I’m not very fast, but the spray deflector worked well. We tried to take some water away from the tyre. Especially at this track we have a lot of aquaplaning, also on the straight, which makes it difficult to control the bike. But now we have to try to understand and improve, and we’ll see tomorrow.



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