Yamaha's Thailand breakthrough "confirmed" - Vinales

Yamaha can conclude its step forward in Thailand wasn’t just a one-off, believes Maverick Vinales after the opening day of MotoGP practice in Motegi.

Yamaha's Thailand breakthrough "confirmed" - Vinales

Vinales posted the fifth-fastest time of the first session in Japan on Friday morning, 0.282s off the pace of Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso.

Rain prior to second practice rendered the session unrepresentative, with neither Vinales nor Rossi setting a laptime on slick tyres and ending up outside of the top 10.

But despite the disruption, Vinales said he felt FP1 provided enough evidence to suggest that Yamaha’s upturn in form in Thailand, where the two factory riders finished third and fourth, was no flash in the pan.

“We confirmed the good feelings of Thailand because I felt so much better,” said Vinales. “Once I adapted to the track everything went well.

“I’m very pleased with the step forward we did in Thailand and we have to continue like this. The step in Thailand was not just about the tyre.

“[The main change in Thailand] was the weight distribution. It was important to test even in the wet, I wanted to do laps to work on my feeling.”

Rossi, however, was more reserved in his judgement, saying track conditions in FP2 means Yamaha doesn’t have “a very clear idea of our performance level”.

He added: “I’m happy if he’s right, I like the optimism of Maverick. But I prefer to wait.

“FP2 is already an important session, but we didn’t do it [in dry conditions], difficult to understand. We wait tomorrow, we try to understand if we can be strong.”

Asked by Motorsport.com if he feels Vinales sometimes reads too much into one strong session, Rossi replied: “For me it’s [because he has a] different character, also he’s very young.

“With my experience I see things change a lot also in one weekend, also from Saturday to Sunday. It’s better to stay concentrated, but everyone has his own way.”

Both Yamaha riders made full use of running during the mixed conditions in FP2, staying on a wet tyre even after the track had become dry enough to run with slicks.

Rossi explained it was Yamaha’s plan to try a new setting in the afternoon and the worsening conditions didn’t affect the team’s plan.

“We tried some different setting for try to understand the way to save the tyre for the weekend,” said Rossi.

“For sure you have different feeling on the rain tyre, but we had a plan to try something in the afternoon and we decided anyway to do it.

“The feeling was quite good but we need to wait until we [can try it with] a dry tyre, because it could change everything.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

shares
comments
Lorenzo fears he won't recover in time for Phillip Island

Previous article

Lorenzo fears he won't recover in time for Phillip Island

Next article

Spencer named chairman of 2019 MotoGP stewards panel

Spencer named chairman of 2019 MotoGP stewards panel
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Event Japanese GP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Maverick Viñales
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing
Author Jamie Klein
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Prime

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021
Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP Prime

Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP

Lightning hasn't struck twice for Maverick Vinales since 2017 and his wayward form of recent years makes predicting how he'll fare each MotoGP race weekend tricky. But fresh from his Qatar GP win, Vinales looks like an even more dangerous prospect for the Doha GP following an intriguing Friday practice.

MotoGP
Apr 3, 2021
Why MotoGP’s new Amazon Prime series is long overdue Prime

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon Prime series is long overdue

OPINION: MotoGP is getting its own version of Drive to Survive on Amazon Prime at some point in the near future. It was news welcomed by the grid’s leading riders. And following the impact DTS has had on Formula 1, MotoGP desperately needs the same boost.

MotoGP
Mar 31, 2021
The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack' Prime

The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack'

Maverick Vinales’s authoritative victory at the MotoGP season opener came during a period of personal and professional change for the Yamaha rider. Can it be the springboard for a title challenge?

MotoGP
Mar 29, 2021
Why Lorenzo needs to ditch social media and enjoy retirement Prime

Why Lorenzo needs to ditch social media and enjoy retirement

OPINION: Jorge Lorenzo's status as one of the greatest MotoGP riders of all time is hard to dispute. But his constant social media spats with fellow riders and insistence on listing his achievements to his detractors are running the risk of tarnishing a legacy he worked hard to create.

MotoGP
Mar 20, 2021