Maverick Viñales has continued his strong pace in winter testing to end the second day of action at Sepang top of the time sheets, setting a time late in the afternoon at the Malaysian track to come home ahead of Alex Rins.
Finishing the second day of the test with a positive note with what looks to be an improving Yamaha M1, he’ll have the chance to reconfirm that feeling on the final day tomorrow.
Speaking afterwards, he said that despite the time coming late in the day, it wasn’t a result of a qualifying effort, telling MCN, “honestly, we tried to work really hard today on the race pace. We were always using the spec for the race. I felt good and around midday we made good lap times especially during the race simulation when it was hot, without grip, so I'm actually really happy how we worked today. We made a good improvement on the bike, so we need to try to do this again tomorrow.”
Suzuki rider Rins was second, just ahead of Ducati pairing Jack Miller and Andrea Dovizioso. With only a second covering the top nine and two seconds covering 21 riders, it’s shaping up for an all-out showdown tomorrow as the grid attempts to take maximum psychological advantage along with a strong result.
And while he might have suffered a small crash – one that failed to aggravate the injury to his ankle he’s still recovering from, it was a strong day for Brit Cal Crutchlow, coming home fifth overall.
“Today was a positive day and the team worked very well. We tried the 2019 bike all day, and we had two of them in the garage which meant we could do back-to-back tests on a few things. It was always the plan, so it’s good to do that. I felt quite comfortable over the day and we are pleased with what HRC has brought us to the test and as a race bike for this season.
“My physical condition is not too bad as regards my ankle. I have more pain at the end of the day and the ankle is swollen due to the heat, but in general I’ve felt good on the bike. I had a small crash at turn five, which was a strange one because I wasn’t pushing or doing anything different – it was a first lap out of the pits. Luckily, I was ok.”