Vinales fastest, 'must keep working'

Maverick Vinales hails 'very positive start' as he sets the pace on day one of the French MotoGP.
Vinales fastest, 'must keep working'

Maverick Vinales put Yamaha on top of the timesheets during day one of the French MotoGP at Le Mans.

The Spaniard built his way up from fourth in the morning session to replace the Repsol Hondas of Marc Marquez and then Jorge Lorenzo at the head of the timesheets during soft-tyre time attacks in the closing minutes of FP2.

But Vinales, who took his first podium of the season last time at Jerez, is equally confident about his race set-up.

“It's been a very positive start to the weekend for me," he said. "I think we found our set-up 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 tyres, but anyway we need to keep working.

"There are still some places where I need to improve, also by my riding style, so tomorrow I have a lot of work to do."

Team director Massimo Meregalli added: "Maverick is feeling really comfortable. He showed competitive speed in a race configuration and even more so on his flying lap with the soft rear tyre."

Keeping the riders and teams on their toes will be the notoriously changeable Le Mans weather, with showers forecast for Saturday.

"Let's see what the weather will be like, because it seems to be uncertain," said Vinales, who took Yamaha's only race win of 2018.

"We will have to pay close attention in qualifying, because it will be key to being able to be in front during the race and for sure we'll have to make quick decisions if the weather changes.

"I haven't ridden the bike in full wet yet, but in Austin I felt great on the wet tyres. So, I think tomorrow it will be important to understand in which direction to work and how to improve.”

Team-mate Valentino Rossi was 13th quickest after a late tyre change left him with only one flying lap on the soft.