Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales fastest on Day 2: MotoGP first official test of 2018

By | January 29, 2018

Movistar Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales who was fastest on the second day in action at the first MotoGP test at Sepang on Monday. Photo by Srinivasa Krishnan

Sepang, 29 Jan 2018: The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team were back on track today to continue work at the first official IRTA test of the 2018 season, held at the Sepang International Circuit. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi again worked diligently to improve their 2018 YZR-M1s, and the results echoed the positive rider feedback. They finished the second day in first and second place respectively.

Similar to yesterday morning, the MotoGP riders waited for the track to dry before they ventured out just before 12 o‘clock local track time.

Viñales had a busy schedule again. His strategy remained the same as for Day 1: put in a lot of laps to work on tyre wear. He initially headed out on the same bike as yesterday to get a feel for the conditions, before he gave the new fairing a try. Throughout the second day of testing the Spaniard noticed an improvement in the consistency of his lap times. He put his YZR-M1 to the test during the final stages of the eight-hour session and posted a 1‘59.355s on lap 66/68 for top billing, with a 0.035s margin.

Trying to make up for lost time due to the overnight rain, Rossi also made strides in the afternoon. He only needed about half an hours‘ time to drop a 1‘59.766s, set on lap 12, to take over at the top of the timesheets. Back into the rhythm, he proceeded work on his bike‘s setting as well as the tyre wear. He spent a long time in second place on the provisional timesheets, until the pace quickened at the end of the day. The Doctor joined in on the action and briefly went top with a 1‘59.390s attempt on lap 38/39, before his teammate pushed him to second place.

Today‘s efforts see Viñales and Rossi also hold first and second place respectively in the combined day 1-2 standings, leaving them in a positive mindset to complete the testing schedule on Tuesday.

As many as twelve riders broke the two-minute barrier, with Cal Crutchlow, Jorge Lorenzo and Jack Miller completing the top five of the day.

After more than two months of waiting, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Viñales began the first of three 2018 pre-season Official IRTA tests on Sunday. The riders got the first feel for their 2018 bikes in both wet and dry conditions at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. They finished in 6th and 13th place respectively on the first day’s session time sheets.

Sunday’s report

After a long winter wait, the Team were back on track on Sunday for the first Official Test. The first of the three-day pre-season days in Malaysia gave riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales a chance to get to know their new YZR-M1s and to start working on a number of test items.

The rain on Sunday morning had Rossi venture out on track, keen on working on the wet setting of his bike and confirming the findings the team made in the Valencia and Sepang tests they held back in November. Heading out with a new 2018 pre-season helmet, he ended the morning stint in 12th place.

As his afternoon session got underway, a dry track was waiting for the Italian, who took this opportunity with both hands. With three hours remaining, he put his 2018 bike to the test and set a provisional fastest time of 2’00.799s. As his teammate and various competitors started to pick up their pace towards the end of the session, the pack got reshuffled. Rossi responded by reclaiming first place on lap 44/50, and retired to the pit early. A flurry of activity in the last 15 minutes saw him end up in sixth position with a 2‘00.233s, 0.806s from first.

Viñales was also eager to get going aboard his YZR-M1 this morning, to do a race simulation and start working on the electronics and engine specifications together with his teammate. The Spaniard came prepared with a special Sepang Test helmet too, with a design inspired by the famous artist Salvador Dali, and held fourth place at the end of his morning runs.

The 23-year-old looked comfortable out on track in the afternoon and he continued to put in lap after lap. As the pace of the field started to pick up in the drier conditions, he temporarily took over top billing from Rossi, clocking an impressive 2‘00.758s. The competition got more and more heated towards the end of the day, but Viñales stuck to his testing schedule. He dropped a 2‘00.714s on lap 55/72, which ultimately earned him 13th place1.287s from the