Viñales was happy to be riding in front of the Spanish fans again and made a hot start to FP1, despite the quite chilly, and thus tricky, conditions. The local rider was quick to get a hold on second place in the provisional standings, and then moved on to work on his bike‘s race setting, only riding with the soft-medium tyre combo. His best time, a 1’31.595s, set on his second run of three, put him in fourth place, 0.140s from first.
The Spaniard gave the fans a performance worth waiting for in the cold on the grandstands in the afternoon as well. He featured within the top-3 for most of the time and even topped the rankings as he put in a time attack in the final minutes. It was a pity he ran into traffic on his penultimate hot lap, but he still managed to wrap up the session in second position with a best time of 1‘30.883s, 0.148s from the top in the FP2 and combined free practice results.
Rossi was quick to adapt to the Valencian track. He carried a competitive pace and became a top-3 contender halfway through FP1. He spent the remainder of the session tweaking his bike’s set-up. He was planning to up his tempo on his third run. However, he got caught out in Turn 4, where the cold right side of the tyre slid out from under him. The Doctor was unhurt but unable to further improve his time. His best lap was a 1’31.976s, putting him in eighth place, 0.521s from the front.
This scenario repeated itself in the afternoon. The Italian was eager to show a strong pace but crashed in Turn 10 on the sixth lap of his first run in FP2. Though he again escaped injury, it did halt his track activity for a while. When he got back into action, the Yamaha rider put his head down once more to improve his best effort. Despite the eventful session, he managed to find 0.1s on his fastest time thus far and produced a 1’31.775s lap for 14th place, 1.040s off the best time of the day.