MotoGP: Yamaha duo start strong in Australia

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The Movistar Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales have made a strong start to testing in Phillip Island, finishing the opening day of three second and fourth and pleased with the work done.

Working through a series of back-to-back comparison tests on both their old bikes and the new 2017 machines designed to improve tyre life in the second half of races, team boss Massimo Meregalli says they achieved a lot.

“This was the first day on Phillip Island, which is a very different track compared to Sepang. The difference in circuit lay-outs makes it important to evaluate the items we tested two weeks ago in Malaysia. Despite the strong wind, as soon as the riders found a good base set-up, they started the comparison of the frames, the fairings and other different settings, with important results. The feedback from the riders has also been positive and both are feeling confident and comfortable on the bike.

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“This is further underlined by both riders dipping under the 1‘30s mark. Vale ended the day with a good 1‘29.683s lap on new tyres and Maverick had a strong pace right from the start this morning, when he set a 1‘29s lap in cooler conditions. One of the main tasks for this test will be to do a race simulation, which is important for us. We‘ve been waiting to be able to complete a long run since Sepang and we would like to do it with both riders. If the circumstances allow it, we will start working on this target tomorrow.

Rossi says that the initial indications of the new package are positive.

“It was a good day, I‘m quite satisfied. We started in a difficult way this morning. Before the break I wasn‘t strong enough and because I couldn‘t push at the maximum I didn‘t have a lot of feeling. We worked well during the break and in the afternoon the situation changed, I was a bit better. At the end, with the new tyre, I was able to do a good lap and second position is positive for the first day. For sure, we still have a lot to do, especially on the long distance and we hope to have good weather also in the next few days.”

And despite finishing behind his teammate Rossi, Viñales was even more pleased with the day’s progress after admitting that they didn’t try for a fast lap.

“About today, I think I can be happy in one area. On the race pace and basic set-up we made a good step, I feel comfortable. We didn‘t set a fast lap time at the end of the session, in the last ten minutes we went back in the box. We still have time until Qatar to be fast and try to improve the bike and I think our objective here is to be consistent and really fast.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer