Maverick Viñales quickly got up to speed despite continuing to learn the Yamaha M1, landing the third fastest time after day 1 of MotoGP testing at Sepang. Teammate Valentino Rossi battled a severe headache, finishing eighth.
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POSITIVE START FOR MOVISTAR YAMAHA TO SEPANG PRE-SEASON TEST
Today, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders proved to have kept their form despite the winter break, with riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi ending the first day of the Sepang MotoGP Official Testing in third and eighth place respectively.
Former Moto3 World Champion and new Yamaha entry Viñales made it seem as if he had been riding the YZR-M1 for years right from the start of the pre-season test at the Sepang International circuit. He was eager to head out on track as soon as the lights turned green and, despite suffering from a lack of grip in the early stages, the Spaniard booked steady progress needing less than three hours to secure third place on the leader board with a 2‘00.128s lap, 0.447s from first.
After a short lunch break the 22-year-old continued his testing programme. Though he was unable to further improve his time, he took some valuable steps in terms of bettering the bike‘s set-up and increasing the tyre life, before rain spoiled the last two hours of the session. He wrapped up the day in third place and in a good position for tomorrow, when testing resumes.
Teammate Rossi undertook a similar testing schedule, despite not being a 100% fit. The Italian suffered from a severe headache, but didn‘t let that stop him from making some kilometres aboard the 2017 YZR-M1 in the Malaysian heat.
The nine-time World Champion had as his main goal to verify the data found at the tests in November, in order to build on it over the next two days. His pace steadily increased throughout his morning and afternoon stints, signalling his positive feeling on the bike by setting the eighth fastest time, a 2‘00.695s, 1.014s from the front. Towards the end of the day the Doctor worked on the performance of the engine and the electronics until rain dampened the track. He didn‘t further attempt to better his pace, leaving him eighth in the standings.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will be back on track tomorrow for a second day of testing from 10am – 6pm (circuit time, GMT+8).
It‘s been a positive first few hours of testing in Sepang for us and, so far, we are quite satisfied. The progress is going well and we are on schedule. In the beginning of the test we suffered a bit from a lack of grip when Maverick started his first run, so he couldn‘t ride as he wanted, but we tried some different things and now it‘s much better. Valentino wasn‘t feeling 100% fit this morning, but he still headed out on track because we were expecting rain in the afternoon. His and Maverick‘s pace started to pick up throughout the first stints when the track was cooler, though we honestly haven‘t been focussing on setting fast lap times. Today our target was to confirm our findings from November and we did do so without any issues. We also worked on the engine, the electronics and the rear tyre life. The changes that we made improved the feelings for the riders on how the bike is performing. It doesn‘t look like the temperatures affected the riders too much, but today was only the first day, there are two more to come.
We have been working a lot to prepare before the race season starts and honestly I‘m quite surprised. The first day is always difficult, but I‘m feeling OK on the bike and physically good, so I‘m happy and I want to go back to working on the bike some more. We tried many things today to get a good package and now we focus on comparing many things. We‘re doing some difficult work these days before we go out to set a fast lap time, but it‘s really useful for the next few tests.
The first feeling wasn‘t so bad, because in this session we finally have the ’real‘ two bikes that we will use during the championship and they are better than the first prototype that we tested in November, from many points of view. Unfortunately, it was a difficult day today. This morning I woke up with a very bad headache and until 12 o‘clock I wasn‘t in good shape. After that we were able to do some laps and the feeling was good. In the afternoon we had to finish the work but it started to rain, so we have to wait and hope that in the next two days we will have good track conditions. We will try some new things tomorrow. Today we worked on the engine and the electronics and found some good stuff.