MotoGP: Viñales tops first night of testing in Qatar

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Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales has topped the first night of pre-season testing at Qatar’s Losail circuit, ending the night a tenth of a second ahead of Suzuki rider Alex Rins. Pleased with the work that he done, not only in Qatar but at the previous tests, he admitted afterwards that he’s starting the season feeling confident.

“I'm really happy, because I felt really good on the bike, especially my riding style. I felt comfortable on the bike and for me that's the most important. This year at four different tracks I felt comfortable on the bike and we could push quite a lot. I'm happy about how we worked today. We haven't done much testing, we tried just to focus on the main things and found a bit more grip and tried to understand which way to go. Now we have to make a plan for tomorrow.”

Rins was pleased with his second place just ahead of the Ducati pairing of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, too, saying afterwards: “day one has been very nice; my rhythm was good. We tried a few different things, as well as confirming what we worked on in Malaysia. The team and I are happy with the progress, but we’re still trying to improve further - in the electronics area and also on my fast lap. In general, we haven’t changed anything drastically, but in every area we’ve made everything a little bit better. I tried a new exhaust, in terms of riding I didn’t feel too much difference but according to date it gives us a little improvement in top speed, which is always a good thing.”

However, it was a difficult day for the Honda pairing of Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, both nursing injuries and struggling with the 2019 Honda. Finishing tenth and 21st respectively, the title of best Honda went to Takaaki Nakagami in eighth, behind Valentino Rossi, another strong performance for Tito Rabat and an impressive seventh for rookie Fabio Quartararo. Testing under the floodlights continues tomorrow.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer