Chasing a second consecutive win on Argentine soil, Viñales was determined to position himself as a key protagonist early on in the weekend. The self-confessed fan of the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit soon found a good feeling aboard his YZR-M1 in FP1. Though he had to hold back due to traffic on track, the 23-year-old continued to make progress. His best time, a 1’41.224s, earned him 13th place, 0.921s from the front.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP youngster intended on working hard in the afternoon to make another step and earn himself a placement within the top-10. Damp track conditions formed a challenge for the Spaniard, but he worked his magic towards the end of the session when the track started to dry. Despite the difficult weather circumstances he improved on his morning time by 0.714s, when he posted a 1’40.510s, moving up to sixth place, with a 1.115s margin to the leading time.
Rossi’s name was found at the top of the standings early on in the first 45-minute free practice session. Feeling comfortable on his bike in the cooler conditions, he gradually improved his pace and finished FP1 taking seventh place with a best lap of 1’40.825s, 0.522s to first.
The afternoon saw more of the same from the Doctor. He dropped a 1’43.034s for provisional first place in the first few laps. He then worked on the tyres, electronics and balance of the bike to prepare a race set-up, until spots of rain interrupted the FP2 proceedings. He held seventh place when track action picked up again in the second half of the session. He further improved his time to 1’40.577s, but remained in seventh position as the chequered flag came out, 1.182s from the top.
Today’s FP1 and FP2 results see Viñales and Rossi take 6th and 7th place respectively in the combined timesheets. Tomorrow they will be back on track from 10:55 – 11:40 local track time (GMT-3) for Free Practice 3, followed by Free Practice 4 from 14:30 – 15:00 and the qualifying sessions from 15:10 – 15:50.