Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi completed the first day of pre-season testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar this evening, finishing in first and seventh place respectively.
Viñales was the first of the two teammates to venture out on track. Determined to get his YZR-M1 set up to his liking early on, he tried various tweaks to the basic setting. The Spaniard gradually improved his feeling on the bike as well as his position, slotting into second place, behind Rossi, with more than three and a half hours to go.
He spent the remaining time of the session concentrating on his riding style and setting a consistent pace. He set a 1’55.053s on lap 50 of 64 laps in total, and ended the first day in first place with a 0.051s margin over his closest rival.
Rossi followed the trend and waited until just after 15:30 local time to hit the track. He needed little time to get back into the spirit of things. He quickly rose to the top of the provisional timesheets, setting a 1’55.827s lap, before starting work on the set-up of his bike.
As the day progressed and the sun went down, he was able to improve his time to a 1’55.432s, on lap 38 of 54 laps. As there was one other rider with the exact same time, the Italian secured seventh position in the standings, 0.379s from his teammate.
Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin commenced the last pre-season test under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in style. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair picked up impressively where they left off some days ago in Buriram, Thailand.
While Zarco quickly found back into his great rhythm at the track in Qatar, the French star concluded the day as the fastest satellite rider of the highly-competitive field in 4th position. Thereby, he missed out on the top by just 0.133 seconds. At the same time, MotoGP rookie Syahrin improved his pace and his feeling with the Yamaha YZR-M1 further and delivered an eye-catching performance in order to finish the first of three days of testing just 1.5 seconds behind his teammate.