Valentino Rossi | RossiFiles.com

Movistar Yamaha Start to Find Form in Friday`s FP Sessions in Sepang

Viñales bided his time at the start of the morning session, keeping a close eye on the live timing screens to get an understanding of the conditions. Twenty-five minutes into the session, the track had tried sufficiently and he was on his way to clock a time on slick tyres. He set the provisional 14th time on his first try but saved the best for last. He steadily worked his way up to fourth place in the FP1 rankings, with a 2’00.903s lap, 0.232s from the front.

The Spaniard had the opposite tactic in the wet afternoon session. He quickly left the Movistar Yamaha box as the pit lane traffic light turned green, keen on proceeding with the work on the wet setting of his YZR-M1. He was showing a positive pace, but a small collision with Héctor Barberá in turn 15 meant he had to make an unplanned pit stop, with 35 minutes remaining. Lucky to have escaped a crash, he was able to rejoin the action soon, eager to make up for lost time. He wrapped up the session with a 2’12.878s best lap for fourth, 1.238s from the top of the standings. With none of the MotoGP riders improving in the afternoon on the results of their morning stint, he also holds fourth place in the combined FP classification.

With the conditions being uncertain at the start of the morning session, Rossi was one of only five riders to start FP1. However, as he headed out on slicks with half of the circuit still presenting wet stretches, he came back in after his first lap. The Italian sat out some time in the pit box waiting for the tarmac to dry, until there were 20 minutes of the session remaining. Back on track he improved on his time consistently, before shifting his attention to working on the bike’s set-up. He dropped a 2’01.662s best lap to finish the first 45-minute session in 12th place, 0.991s from first.

The wet conditions really suited the Doctor in the FP2 session. He was a man on a mission from the moment he kicked his bike in gear. He soon featured at the top end of the provisional standings and was in a good place to fine-tune the base wet setting – knowing he would not be able to better his morning dry lap time in the wet. The nine-time World Champion ended the afternoon practice session posting a 2’13.071s best time, for sixth position, with a 1.431s margin to the leading rider. Rossi’s faster FP1 time earned him 12th place in the combined practice results.