After the warm welcome Viñales received upon his arrival in Thailand, he was filled with motivation to start the weekend off right. He soon climbed up to provisional sixth place, clocking multiple 1’32s laps, and kept hold of it for most of the session. Having gotten a first feel for the Chang track, he took some time to tweak his bike’s set-up before heading out for one last try in the final minutes, and it paid off. He clocked a 1’31.220s, putting his YZR-M1 in first place, 0.270s ahead of the field.
The Spaniard duplicated his strong performance in FP2. He gradually got on the pace again, improving his feeling with the bike. However, just when the usual ‘mini time attacks’ were about to start, a crash halted the session. After the red flag interval, the youngster used the last 12 minutes of track time to push out some hot laps. He was in eighth position but put his head down once more and briefly took over at the top again. The 1’31.121s lap ultimately earned him second place, 0.031s from the top in the overall times.
Rossi needed a little time to warm to the Buriram track but was eager to get to work. He hopped to it, trying to find a good basis set-up for his bike and found one in the second half of FP1. With slightly more than a third of the session to go he dropped under the 1’33s-mark, and the personal best laps kept on coming, especially at the very end of the session. The Doctor stormed up the ranking order, ultimately securing second place, 0.270s behind his teammate, having set a 1’31.490s best lap.
The nine-time World Champion also had a positive session in the afternoon, as he tried a new fairing for the first time. After the red flag, when the Italian was fully acquainted with the new item, he didn’t wait another minute to put on some a soft rear tyre in order to get a hot lap in. He briefly moved up to second place with a 1’31.528s, but the session became more and more heated. He further improved his time to a 1’31.398s but was unable to hold his position. He completed the first day in ninth place, 0.308s from first.