The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team successfully concluded their winter testing program on the last day of the MotoGP Official Test Losail in Qatar. Continuing their strategy to wait for the temperatures to mimic the expected conditions for the upcoming Qatar GP, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi spent the day perfecting their racing packages, setting the first- and 12th-fastest time of the day respectively.
Viñales used today‘s session at the Losail International Circuit to its full capacity. Already happy with the balance of the YZR-M1 on the first two days, he again managed to up his pace on Day 3. He focused on riding with used tires for most of the time, but in the final hour he put in a time attack. He set a 1‘53.858s on lap 69 that catapulted him into P1 and also earned him first place in the combined Day 1-2-3 results, 0.033s ahead of his closest rival.
Rossi worked on tire life today. He was inside the top three midway through his runs, demonstrating that his hard work over the last two days paid off. With the race setting provisionally locked for the Qatar GP, he then decided to push a bit further, but got caught out by the cooler and more humid conditions. It resulted in a small crash in Turn 2, but fortunately no injuries for the Italian. He was able to head out again but didn’t improve on his fastest time. His best lap, a 1’54.332s, set on lap 28/47, left him in 12th place in today‘s and the combined timesheets, 0.474s behind his teammate.
Maverick Viñales: “Today has been a really good day for us because we have been working with very used tires, especially when the conditions were difficult. We were trying to adapt ourselves when the conditions weren’t good. I tried my best with used tires because sometimes in the race you get a kind of difficult feeling. So, I tried to understand what I have to do when the condition is not good on the track. I‘m very happy, the team has been working in a really good way. Six days of testing, and I feel good with the bike. I feel the bike is there, and now we need to continue working, because there‘s a good progression but it‘s still not enough. Honestly, I enjoyed these last three days on the bike so much. For sure it‘s going to be a long week, so I can‘t wait for next Friday and especially Sunday on the grid.”
Valentino Rossi: “First of all, it is incredible because also today we have fifteen riders within maybe half a second. It‘s like Moto2, so this is very good for the championship, the fans, and the races, because it looks like there‘s a good balance between the different riders and bikes. Today we are a little bit worried, not so much about the position – unfortunately I crashed with the second tire and I think I could have improved the lap time – but more about the pace. We tried to make some long runs, but we had some problems with the tires very similar to last year, so it looks like, that after some laps, unfortunately I have to slow down and this is not good news. But now the tests are finished we will see during the race weekends. In the races it‘s always different.”