Maverick Viñales expressed his delight at the performance of his Monster Energy Yamaha in the corners as he ended the opening free practice sessions at the Losail circuit in second.
The 24-year-old spent the morning session working systematically on his bike’s setup, especially through the corners, and would end FP1 in sixth spot. Overall, 16 riders would end the opening session within 0.900s of the fastest time – set by Viñales’ teammate, Valentino Rossi.
With the second session taking place at night, under the spotlights, the temperature dropped and so did the lap-times. Viñales focused on overall speed and his quickest time of 1:53.854s was enough to put him in second place overall, +0.474s behind Marc Marquez, who set a new lap record.
Speaking about his day, Viñales said:
“It was really important to be inside the top 10 today, because the lap times were really fast. I was planning to do two time-attacks, but in the end I only had time to do one. I’m actually really happy about how the bike is working. We still have to improve, we are losing a lot on top speed, but the bike is getting really great in the corners, so I’m very excited to work even harder tomorrow.
“We’re going to try to make the last corner better, especially in terms of acceleration. We need to improve in that area, let’s see if we can do it tomorrow. We know now the potential of our bike and we need to keep working hard.”
FP3 for the opening round of the 2019 MotoGP season is scheduled to begin at 12:15pm tomorrow afternoon, followed by FP4 at 16:20, Q1 at 17:00 and the all-important Q2 shootout at 17:25.