Viñales happy with used-tyre pace and seamless gearbox

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Winter testing sensation Maverick Viñales says he’s most happy with the pace he’s been able to take from used tyres, after finishing the final pre-season test of 2016 in third overall.

Losing the chance to finish higher up the leaderboard after a red flag during his attempt at fast laps (ironically enough caused by teammate Aleix Espargaró falling), the Suzuki rider is nonetheless pleased with his performance.

“I’m happy because with used tyres I could keep a pace around 1’55-and-a-half, which is a pace that in race could lead to the podium. I am happy about the team, the work we have done, we all improved and also, so has the bike. Here in Qatar it wasn’t easy, the straight is long and our engine still has some room for improvement, but this makes me confident for the first race.”

Making big strides over the winter with engine performance has been key for the Hamamatsu manufacturer, who now look almost to be on a par with opposition like the factory Movistar Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

Apart aside from the new engine, Viñales was also finally able to try out a component that may play just as key a role in his goal of podium success in 2016; the manufacturer’s new up-and-down seamless gearbox design.

“In the last two runs I also tested the full seamless for the first time and this is another big improvement. I couldn’t try a time attack with it but my feeling is that it has a lot of potential. We need to work on it for the finalisation and I hope we can use it in the race.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer