Vinales ‘satisfied,’ feeling ‘very similar’ to Jerez

Maverick Viñales reveals the package he sampled on day one at Sepang is “very similar” to what he rode at the end of 2018; hopes modifications can aid his comfort after posting third fastest time.
Vinales ‘satisfied,’ feeling ‘very similar’ to Jerez

Maverick Viñales provided a relatively upbeat assessment of the package he tested of the first day of MotoGP testing at Sepang, even though he felt the 'new' engine Yamaha provided felt “very similar” to what he raced and tested at the close of last year.

Had it not been for a poor qualifying, the 24-year old had the pace to challenge for podium places during last year’s running of the Malaysian Grand Prix. And Viñales expressed satisfaction at his comfort despite feeling there was major room for improvement.

The Catalan ended the day a solid third overall, 0.3s behind surprise pace setter Marc Marquez at a sweltering Sepang, where the comments of both Monster Yamaha riders suggested the one engine they are using this week will be their designated motor for the season ahead.



“Well at least I'm not tired,” came Viñales’ response when asked to assess his day. “That's the main satisfaction, that I did a good winter.

“No, honestly, I'm very satisfied about how the bike works, because finally after two months, it works pretty much the same. Normally you come here and you struggle to adapt to the bike, but I lapped quite fast and that's a good point.”

On the 2019 engine, he commented, “It’s very similar [to what he tested at the end of last year]. Honestly, compared to the race, it's quite similar. The good thing is that I was doing the lap times with the medium, which I couldn't use during the race. So that's a positive thing.

“But anyway, tomorrow when I try the soft, I will know how the bike works finally with good grip. But the good thing is that with the medium, I could be quite fast and that's very important, because normally when we don't have grip, that's when the bike becomes very difficult.

“Today I could ride all the track quite well. Just these small details that I can't brake every lap at the same point, I have too modify a lot because of the engine braking.

“Finally, we have to run with this engine, so I focussed a lot on that engine trying to be faster with what I have. But we still have to work a lot, because I still miss a lot of lap time in the braking area, so we need to keep working on that.

“Especially when I grab the brake, and I have to use a lot of pressure and the bike doesn't stop. I struggle a lot with the front tyre. So we need to improve that part.

“Tomorrow we are going to try a different setup, because today we only tried engine, engine, engine, so I couldn't make any kind of set-up change, I had the same set-up which I used in Jerez. So maybe tomorrow with the set-up, we can solve something.”

A lack of competitiveness on used tyres has been a gripe of Yamaha riders that backdates several seasons. On this aspect of performance, Viñales noted, “I tried to use the used tyre, but it works one way or another depending on how you manage it.

“If I stop a lot, then the tyre degradation is very fast. But if I keep running on the track, like if I do seven laps, then another seven laps, the tyre degradation is quite good, it's not bad. We are working quite hard on that area.

“Today I made quite a long run. There still remains the question that after Moto2 when the grip is low, then the bike is difficult to control.”

With Viñales using day one at Sepang to put Yamaha’s 2019 engine and its various ‘upgrades’ through their paces, he explained how Thursday’s action will centre around chassis tweaks.

“At the moment, we tried the upgrades on the engine today, so tomorrow it's quite clear what we have,” he said. “We are going to try different areas on the set-up, to try to be better on the braking area, because at the moment, I don't like it.

“I can't make three laps with the same line. So I don't like it a lot, I have to play a lot with the bike, and it's not good, I can't be constant. So tomorrow we are going to try to solve that with the setup.

“And then I think we have some new things on the chassis, maybe a little bit more stiffness, I really don't know, because I haven't had the meeting yet. But I think it looks like we have to push the rear tyre more, to gain rear grip.”