Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Lead the Way on Qatar Test Day 1

Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi got back in the saddle today at the Losail International Circuit to commence the final three-day preseason test before the start of the 2019 season on 10 March. The riders were back in their element when they swung their legs over their bikes and completed the first day of riding in first and fifth place respectively.

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1s looked even more impressive under the floodlights in Qatar. Notably, the bikes featured a special India Yamaha Motor (IYM) Pvt Ltd. logo on the front, just for the Qatar test, as the company are currently celebrating the start of their new brand campaign ‘THE CALL OF THE BLUE’.

Viñales was quickly up to speed. The Spaniard had been looking forward to continuing the work he had started at the Sepang test two weeks ago. The conditions today were very different due to the cooler night temperatures, making for excellent circumstances to further examine his bike’s settings. His hard work paid off. He set the best time of the day, a 1’55.051s, on lap 48/50, topping the timesheets with a 0.108s-margin over his closest rival.

Rossi was also eager to get back to work and followed the same strategy as his teammate, using the early hours of the evening to get most of the work done, before putting his head down about an hour before the end of the session. The Doctor knows like no other how important thorough experimenting can be, and he availed himself of today’s opportunity to finetune his bike, especially since the current conditions should be similar to those expected for the upcoming race, held in a fortnight’s time. The Italian dropped a 1’55.604s on lap 42/47 to end the day 0.553s behind his teammate.

The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team today completed their first day of tests at the Losail International Circuit, with Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli both inside the top fifteen. The Frenchman ended the evening as the fastest rookie in seventh place overall, with his Italian teammate in 14th. It was a satisfactory night’s work for the pair at the track that will host the opening round of the season, following on from the progress they made at Sepang.

Fabio Quartararo enjoyed his best day yet in the premier class, clocking a 1’55.772 on his 42nd lap to secure seventh place on the night. A total of 49 laps made him the third busiest rider on track, with only two more riders covering more kilometres. Quartararo has continued with his rapid adaptation to the category, following up on a positive first test of 2019 at Sepang.

Franco Morbidelli finished the day in fourteenth place with a best time of 1’56.511 set on his 45th lap. He was one of the few riders that were on track during the opening hour, when the track was still dirty, as he prepared himself for the conditions he will face in FP1 and FP3 of the Grand Prix. The Italian established a good feeling but wasn’t helped by a crash on a new tyre in turn six with an hour and a half remaining.

Work continues tomorrow for the PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, with the second day set to commence at 4pm local time and finish at 10pm.

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