17 May Vinales Sets Benchmark Time on First Day of French GP Weekend
Viñales stuck to the plan he made in the run-up to the weekend in Le Mans. He wanted to make a strong start to the French GP, and he was quick to position himself in the mix for top billing in the morning session. He showed great confidence in his pace, opting to keep his attention on the setting of his YZR-M1 rather than putting in a fast lap with a soft rear tyre, and still remained inside the top-5. He set a best time of 1’32.203s for fourth place, 0.217s from first.
The Spaniard kept the good vibes going in the afternoon, despite threatening clouds invading the Bugatti circuit. He quickly moved up into the top-3 again and spent the remainder of the session getting ready to fire in hot laps during the final minutes. He wrapped up FP2 with a stunning final run, setting multiple fastest laps of the day, to finish in first place with a 1‘31.428s, 0.190s ahead of his closest rival.
Rossi started the FP1 session with the intention to follow up on the leads found in the Jerez test. However, after encountering a chain issue halfway through the session, he had to alter his planning. The Italian hurried back to the pit box and headed out on his second bike. He pushed in the latter stages to make the top-10, bettering his time to a 1‘32.760s in the process, and finished in tenth place, 0.774s from the front.
The Doctor had his work cut out for him during FP2, trying to make up for lost time. He continued to perfect the set-up of his YZR-M1 until the last four minutes of the session. He put in a soft rear tyre for a time attack, hoping to be able to move into the top-10 again, but as he only had enough time for one flying lap, he ended up in 13th place. His best lap of 1’32.320s puts him in 14th place overall for the day, 0.892s from the top.