Movistar Yamaha new signing Maverick Viñales and reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez have thrown down gloves – and perhaps shown us the direction of the 2017 season – after they went head to head on the final day of testing at Phillip Island.
It was Viñales who came out on top, though, topping the three days with a blisteringly fast 1:28.549 lap that’s almost a second under the race lap record around the Australian track. And despite his best efforts, there wasn’t much that Marquez could do about it, eventually finishing 0.3 back on his fellow Spaniard.
Dani Pedrosa was perhaps a surprise third, recovering from a throat infection yesterday that hindered his performance to bounce back with an impressive lap time at the end of the day. Fourth was rookie sensation Jonas Folger, showing that he has not only lap times but pace too, to finish ahead of Cal Crutchlow.
Alex Rins was another impressive rookie in sixth, well clear of teammate Andrea Iannone in a distant 13th, while Andrea Dovizioso was top Ducati in seventh, joined by teammate Jorge Lorenzo only 0.094 back. Strong rides from Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaró rounded out the top ten.
However, it was a disappointing day for Valentino Rossi back in 12th overall, unable to improve today despite admitting that he was happy after the opening days of the test.