Having stood on the podium at the previous two rounds, Viñales followed the same free practice procedure this morning, earning himself a provisional fourth place as he focused on his YZR-M1‘s set-up. Once the balance of the bike was to his liking, he improved his time and concluded FP1 in third position with a 1‘56.982 lap, 0.063s from first.
With dark clouds looming above the Brno circuit and the possibility of rain for tomorrow‘s FP3 in mind, the Spaniard amended his FP2 strategy. He shortly continued his preparation for Sunday’s race on his first run before switching to the soft rear tyre. Viñales showed his confidence, dropping into the low 1’56s, and set a benchmark time of 1’56.084s for first place, 0.590s ahead of his closest rival. A late charge by other riders saw him finish fifth in today’s combined times, 0.282s from the top.
Rossi was keen on getting back aboard his Yamaha and it showed as he put in an early lap for third place in FP1. He then swiftly moved on to putting his attention towards finding a perfect balance for his bike. He kept focused on improving the bike’s race set-up and rounded off the morning practice with a best time of 1’57.827s for tenth place, 0.908s from the top of the rankings.
In the afternoon, the Italian followed a similar process as his team-mate, getting a feel for the conditions on his first run before an early time-attack. The Doctor managed to get a 1’57.494s lap in, moving him up to fifth, but encountered a technical issue as he started his second hot lap. He lost valuable time nursing his bike back to the pits, but soon re-entered the track on his second bike. He had dropped back to eighth place, but put his head down on his fourth run, with 5 minutes to go. On his final lap he set a 1‘56.527s and ended the first day in ninth position in the combined free practice standings, 0.725s from the front.