Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales prepared for the second official pre-season test of the year in Thailand, by making a special trip to the Philippines this week for Yamaha’s Time2Rev event.
Both riders will experience the Buriram Circuit for the very first time on Friday (February 16), but before the test they took time out of the schedule to meet and greet fans and honour manufacturer commitments in the Philippines.
The unique event was a busy one for the riders, as they met members of the local media and Yamaha dealers at the Yamaha Motor Philippines Inc. (YMPH) 2018 Dealer Conference. The two riders were joined by Yamaha President Toru Osugi, sales and marketing director Akihiro Maruo, motorsport boss Kouichi Tsuji and Yamaha Moto GP managing director Lin Jarvis in Manila to visit the newly-opened Yamaha Monumento Station.
The Yamaha duo were then presented with their own ‘walk of fame’ style name plaques, which were inserted in the floor of the station. Next up was a trip to 10th Avenue, in the Caloocan City area, where the Time2Rev event was being held. The local area had been turned into ‘Yamaha central’, with various promotional activities taking place.
Rossi and Viñales had a quick look at the various Yamaha bike models on display, before they were asked on stage to give a short speech and show their support for the local Yamaha racers by handing out certificates.
This was followed by a visit to the dealer conference, where the media and a big group of Yamaha dealers and distributors had assembled for another Q&A and photo opportunity. A busy day ended with some one-on-one interviews with the local media.
Speaking about his time in the Philippines, Viñales said:
“I really enjoyed the event yesterday in the Philippines, it was incredible how many people attended the event in Manila. I keep saying it, but I didn‘t expect to receive such a warm welcome. The venue was really nice and the crowds there are always very friendly and passionate about MotoGP, this gives me extra motivation to do them proud on the new track.
“I want to thank Yamaha Motor Philippines for organising this event and for the kindness with which they have treated us. I will now focus on the test in Buriram, because I‘m impatient to ride my M1 at this new circuit.”
Rossi also enjoyed his time and now has his mind firmly set on the official test. He said:
“Like every year, before the tests, we do this Asian tour and it is the second time that I went to Manila. It’s always nice to go there because their passion for motorcycles is really incredible. It was a very busy day, there were so many fans of mine and of Yamaha and it’s always nice to meet them.
“Now we focus on the test, because tomorrow we will be on track and it will be a new circuit for everyone. The test in Sepang was positive and now I want to start work in Thailand to improve our M1 again.”
Both riders will now head to Thailand for the official three-day test.