Viñales & Yamaha Fast In French MotoGP Practice


Maverick Viñales in action at the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit. (Yamaha photo)

LE MANS, France – Maverick Viñales wasted no time in getting up to speed at Le Mans’ Bugatti Circuit on Friday, leading MotoGP practice for the Shark Helmets French Grand Prix.

Viñales toured the 2.655-mile, 14-turn circuit in 1:31.428 during the second session, ending the day .190 seconds clear of defending champion Marc Marquez.

“It’s been a very positive start to the weekend for me,” noted Viñales. “I think we found our setup very fast, so I was able to make many laps and I felt quite good with the bike. I have a good feeling, also with the tires, but we need to keep working. There are still some places where I need to improve, concerning my riding style, so tomorrow I have a lot of work to do. We’ll see what the weather will be like, because it seems to be uncertain.

“We will have to pay close attention in qualifying, because it will play an important role in being able to be in front during the race. For sure, we’ll have to make quick decisions,” he added. “I haven’t ridden the bike in full wet yet, but in Austin, I felt great on the wet tires. I think tomorrow it will be important to understand which direction to work in and how to improve.”

Marquez’s Repsol Honda rider was second-quick with a time of 1:31.618. Marquez is the defending winner of the event and has won at Le Mans twice during his MotoGP career.

Home hero Fabio Quartararo, who led the first practice session to start the day, finished up third overall for Petronas Yamaha SRT. The second factory Honda Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso completed the top five.

Danilo Petrucci was sixth on the sister Ducati, ahead of brothers Pol and Aleix Espargaro. Takaaki Nakagami finished up ninth for LCR Honda Idemitsu and Jack Miller was 10th for Pramac Racing.

Notable names outside the top 10 included Cal Crutchlow (12th), Valentino Rossi (14th), Johann Zarco (17th) and Andrea Iannone (19th).