MotoGP: Vinales leads way on Yamaha debut

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Maverick Vinales’ initial transition from Suzuki to Yamaha appeared to be seamless on the first day of testing in Valencia as the Spaniard cruised to the top of the time sheets aboard his new machine.

Heading out on track a little later than most, Vinales seemed to get up to speed with the YZR-M1 relatively quickly as he moved up the timesheets to sit second behind Marc Marquez heading towards lunch.

Even team-mate Valentino Rossi upping the ante couldn’t halt Vinales, as he closed in on the Italian before setting the quickest time of the day with a lap of 1’30.930. 

It was a successful first day for Jorge Lorenzo too, making his move to Ducati for 2017 the five-time World Champion set the third quickest time of the day as he familiarised himself with the Desmosedici.


Marquez was fourth quickest with a time set on the 2017-spec Honda, which as suspected does have a revised firing order as demonstrated by the much lower tone of the engine. Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top five. 

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow ranked sixth despite an off at the final turn, ahead of new Suzuki recruit Andrea Iannone who, while impressing on his debut, won the award for biggest crash of the day with as he sent his GSX-RR rolling through the gravel at turn ten. Scott Redding, Hector Barbera and Dani Pedrosa rounded out the top ten. 

Jonas Folger was the series’ quickest rookie on the opening day placing 16th fastest, just 1.5 seconds off Vinales’ fastest time to outrank team-mate Johann Zarco at Tech 3, while Aprilia’s rookie contender Sam Lowes finished the day in 24th place, 2.4 seconds off the pace. New KTM team-mates Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith were just 0.2 seconds apart in 19th and 20th respectively. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing