Rossi was quick to get into the swing of things during the morning. He topped the provisional standings just a few minutes into FP1, before he put his attention to working on his YZR-M1’s set-up. He went on to look for a good tyre combination and booked progress throughout the session. He finished in sixth place with a 1’32.777s lap, 0.301s from the front.
The Italian duplicated his strong form in the afternoon. Just ten minutes into the session he was flashing red sectors in the first half of his lap, but wasn’t able to complete the time attack as he ran into traffic. However, it wasn’t until the last ten minutes that the pace really heated up. After tweaking the balance of his bike, the Doctor climbed up to third in the ranking order with a 1’32.179s lap, 0.243s from first.
Viñales was looking strong in the cooler first free practice. Having found a good basis for his bike at the start of FP1, it only took him four minutes to put his Yamaha on the number one spot. After spending most of the remainder of the session trying further setting options, he successfully put the final result to the test at the end. The young gun set the provisional fastest time in fourfold in the final few minutes to ultimately take over at the top of the timesheets with a best lap of 1’32.543s. This time was strong enough to secure him third place, 0.067s from the leader, when the chequered flag came out.
The Spaniard kept chipping away at his provisional fastest lap time from FP1 in the afternoon. He first put in some testing labour again, preferring to use the start of the session to try new set-up changes for his Yamaha, before putting his head down in the later stages. Like clockwork, he went into the pits with ten minutes remaining, to make a quick tyre change before setting his best lap of the day, a 1’32.204s, for fourth place, 0.268s from the top of the timesheets.
As nearly all MotoGP riders improved their times in the afternoon session, Rossi and Viñales hold their third and fourth place respectively in the combined free practice timesheets.