Soggy Start to Le Mans Weekend for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales ventured out on the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit in the first free practice sessions of the weekend

valentino rossi and maverick vinales french gp free practice action
Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales, Grand Prix of France Free Practice 2017Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team riders started their quests at the Grand Prix de France today with the first free practice sessions, ahead of Sunday's race. Valentino Rossi showed a solid pace in the mixed conditions and landed eighth place in the combined session times, slightly ahead of teammate Maverick Viñales, who posted the tenth fastest time.

Rossi was true to his word, spoken in the run-up to the weekend in Le Mans. He wanted to make a strong start to the French GP and he quickly matched his pace with the front runners. Having breached into the top5, he shifted his attention to the setting of his YZR-M1. With the track drying and the pace picking up, he set a best time of 1'40.894s for eighth place, 3.427s from first.

The soaking wet conditions in the afternoon, didn’t stop the Doctor booking progress. He quickly moved up to provisional second place and spent the remaining 30 minutes focusing on improving his setting before putting it to the test in the final stages. He wrapped up the second session with a tenth fastest time of 1'43.006s, 1.333s from the front and held on to eighth place in the combined standings, thanks to his morning time.

Viñales started the morning session with the goal to continue the progress made in the Jerez test and spurted to the top of the timesheets 15 minutes into FP1, with a 1’42.546s. He spent the rest of the time comparing settings, bettering his fastest lap to a 1’41.307s in the process, and finished in tenth place, 3.840s from the front.

The Spaniard was quick to pick up where he left off during FP2, this time in full wet conditions after a midday downpour. He soon moved into the top4 as he continued to perfect the set-up of his YZR-M1. He saved his best for his last stint and dropped a 1'42.894s to end FP2 in eighth place, 1.221s from the top. Unable to improve on his fastest lap from this morning, he remained in tenth position in the combined standings.

valentino rossi french gp free practice action
Valentino Rossi, Grand Prix of France Free Practice 2017Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha

VALENTINO ROSSI
8th: 1'40.894 / 16 + 20 LAPS

"For sure it's more difficult in these conditions, but for us it's also very important to try to understand the feeling of the bike in the wet, because in Jerez we suffered also a lot in these conditions. In the end I'm just tenth, so the position is not fantastic, but the feeling with the bike improved and throughout the practice I was always in a good position. I think that at the end with the new tyre I needed a few more laps to get some heat in, but the feelings are better. We worked a lot on corner entry and it's not so bad, but now we have to understand our pace in the dry and we hope for good conditions tomorrow."

maverick vinales french gp free practice action
Maverick Vinales, Grand Prix of France Free Practice 2017Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha

MAVERICK VIÑALES
10th: 1'41.307 / 11 + 17 LAPS

"For me it was a good day, because we could improve the bike a bit in the rain and I feel comfortable already with the bike. I think step by step we are improving in the rain. In the end, I didn't put in the soft tyre, I was too late, I could only get two laps in on the dry tyres. For me, ultimately, the position doesn't matter, it's the feeling in the wet and that we improved the bike that counts. I hope it will stay dry so we can work well. Our bike is working good here, so we can do a good result again."

MASSIMO MEREGALLI
TEAM DIRECTOR

"Today’s morning conditions were exactly what we hoped to avoid. The track was still drying in the morning, which meant that we were unable to collect any really good information, like we did in the fully wet afternoon session. Even though it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain over the next two days, it’s been important to ride in the wet, as this allowed us to make another step in terms of the set-up for rainy conditions. We expect that it will be dry from now on and we will start FP3 with the information that we collected two weeks ago during the Le Mans test, especially concerning Maverick. Vale will continue to evaluate the two different settings he compared in FP1 which gave him a good impression."

For more information: www.yamahamotogp.com

Combined Free Practice Times

Pos. Rider Num. Nation Team Time/Gap
1 MILLER Jack 43 AUS Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1'37.467
2 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1.288
3 ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech3 1.781
4 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 2.140
5 BAZ Loris 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing 2.960
6 ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team 3.061
7 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 3.350
8 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 3.427
9 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 3.557
10 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 3.840
11 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar 4.095
12 FOLGER Jonas 94 GER Monster Yamaha Tech3 4.177
13 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 4.206
14 PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 4.387
15 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Octo Pramac Racing 4.420
16 REDDING Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing 4.458
17 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team 4.480
18 RABAT Tito 53 SPA Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 4.627
19 LOWES Sam 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 4.776
20 GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA Team Suzuki Ecstar 5.424
21 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 5.486
22 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 5.647
23 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 6.052