Viñales had been looking forward to riding at the Silverstone Circuit for weeks, and the YZR-M1 was as good around it as he remembered. He was soon positioned at the top of the timesheets, more than a second clear of the rest of the field. The pace picked up, but the Yamaha rider responded every time and finished by setting two successive fastest laps, a 2’02.165s and a 2’02.073s, to end the session in first place, 0.189s ahead of his teammate in second place.
The Spaniard was quick to get into the flow of things again in the afternoon. He claimed the number one spot on his first flying lap. He was pushed down to third, but kept dropping 2’02s laps, showing his strong pace. He was on a late charge, eager to regain the honour of finishing in first place, but some chatter on the start-finish straight as he completed his penultimate lap prohibited him from fully exploiting the soft rear tyre. Nevertheless, he had still managed to set a new PB of the day, a 2’01.446s, to take third place, just 0.061s from first.
The wind and cold morning temperatures (15°C) also didn’t bother teammate Rossi. The Italian gradually upped his pace in FP1 and climbed up to the top-4 in the last 15 minutes of the session. As the competition heated slightly in the final stages, he put in a soft tyre, just like his teammate, and moved up from ninth in the rankings to second place, 0.189s behind Viñales.
The Doctor followed the same strategy in the afternoon. He waited for the final third of the session to make his mark. He rode a strong stint on the medium rear tyre and didn’t stop posting low 2’02s laps until he secured P1 with a 2’02.152s. He held this position until the last five minutes, when various riders put in a soft tyre to secure a place in the provisional combined FP top-10. Rossi also gave it a go on the softer option but was unable to improve his time, which secured him eighth position in the FP2 and combined free practice results, 0.767s from the top.