Monster Energy Yamaha Take on First Tuscan Free Practice Sessions GRAND PRIX OF ITALY FREE PRACTICE Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi started the first day at the Autodromo del Mugello, claiming 5th and 18th place respectively in the combined session times. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi completed the first Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley free practice sessions today. Viñales jumped up to 5th position in the combined timesheets in the hot afternoon. With the weather forecast being consistently sunny for the weekend, Rossi focused on assessing his bike‘s setting and the tire combinations, setting the 18th fastest time of the day. Viñales used the 45-minute morning session with a clear goal in mind. He knew that the track temperatures would rise and bring big changes in terms of tire decisions. Therefore, the Spaniard used FP1 to get his bike ready for FP2, expecting its conditions to be similar to those in Sunday‘s race. He wrapped up FP1 in 14th place, with a 1‘48.392sec lap on his last try, 0.834sec from the leading time. In the afternoon, the #12 rider got down to business. He used the first half of the session to fine-tune his bike‘s setting and rode his YZR-M1 to fourth place in the provisional rankings. He set multiple fast laps as he fought to hold a spot in the top-3. However, every time he got up there, he was pushed down a position and ultimately finished fifth, with a 1‘46.973sec lap. Still, the Spaniard underlined how fast his race pace is, as he finished 0.241s from first. “In the afternoon I improved my riding,” Viñales said. “Just by riding the bike, and by trying to make myself smaller around the whole track, I found some time, but still the bike is very difficult, it’s so nervous. I couldn’t ride really well. We need to keep working and try to be better tomorrow. I’m struggling everywhere, so we need to improve if we want to fight for the race. Getting a first or second row for tomorrow will be very important. It’s such a long track, so you need to start at the front.” Rossi was happy to greet the local fans under the Tuscan sun in FP1 as he prepared for his first home race of the season. Eager to position himself as a key protagonist for this weekend in front of his home fans, the Doctor tested various settings for his YZR-M1 throughout the morning practice, but he struggled to find good pace. He finished in 12th place with a best lap of 1’48.356sec, 0.798sec off the fastest time. The nine-time World Champion’s performance improved slightly in FP2. Encouraged by the loud cheers from the Italian fans, he used the afternoon session to further work on his bike‘s setting. He bettered his personal best lap by 0.630sec but didn‘t improve his ranking. He ended the day in 18th place in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, with a fastest lap of 1‘47.726sec, 0.994sec from the top. “It was a difficult day,” Rossi admitted. “I expected to be more competitive but this morning I wasn’t very fast. I wasn’t feeling very well, and I wasn’t able to ride in a good way. In fact, my position is quite bad, so we have to improve. This afternoon we tried the hard tires, but the pace isn’t fantastic. We need to improve in other areas than just top speed, because the other Yamahas are quite fast.” We’ll have another report from Mugello qualifying and the race, so visit eneos.us/blog for updates.