Maverick Vinales has been buoyed by a productive Friday practice with his Monster Yamaha at Motegi in preparation for the Japanese MotoGP and feels confident regardless of what weather conditions he faces tomorrow.

The Spanish rider narrowly missed out on top spot in FP2 after leading the morning session, slipping 0.321s behind timesheet-topper Fabio Quartararo during the late soft tyre runs, and is optimistic he has a strong setup for the Japanese circuit which hasn’t suited Yamaha in recent years.

The Iwata factory’s last appearance on the Motegi rostrum came back in 2015 but at the end of Friday practice all four Yamahas were inside the top six.

While Vinales is still looking for gains “mechanically” from his M1 package, he’s confident of being fast in both dry and wet conditions as heavy rain is forecast to hit Motegi later this weekend.

“I’m really happy. Today I’m feeling very positive,” Vinales said. “We’ve tried many things on the bike, which is very positive, because we don’t know what the weather will be like tomorrow.

“I actually felt really good with the bike all the way through FP1 and FP2. Now we have to make another step, but more mechanically. We need to try to understand the best way to improve.

“We will try to be fast on the wet. Normally that’s one of our strong points, and we’re usually amongst the first places. So our main target for tomorrow will be the front row, also in the rain.”

Vinales was also fitted with a heart rate monitor by Dorna during Friday practice as part of a new television graphic display which interested the Spanish rider.

“I had a monitor showing my heart rate today. I can feel my heartbeat faster sometimes, especially on braking, where I struggle the most. When you do about 10-11 laps you start to feel it,” he said.

The Monster Yamaha rider is looking to maintain his recent momentum having clinched three rostrum results over the past four rounds.



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