Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Concludes Sepang Test on Top
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP has wrapped up the first official IRTA test of the 2017 season today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have spent the three days working through various testing items to further develop their YZR-M1s and secured first and sixth place respectively in the overall standings.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have completed their testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today. This third and last day was the toughest for the riders as they rode back-to-back stints in hot temperatures to make up for lost time due to yesterday’s damp track conditions.
Though the focus of the team was still solely on improving the technical aspects, the Spaniard and Italian took first and fifth place respectively in today’s time sheets and first and sixth in the overall 2017 Sepang MotoGP Official Test results.
This morning Viñales showed once again that his riding style matches perfectly with the YZR-M1’s nimble character. He dropped various hot laps before posting his fastest time of the day, a 1’59.368s on lap 40, to slot into first place in the rankings. With a margin of 0.138s ahead of his closest rival, he comfortably held his position until the end of the session after shifting his attention to the last details of his bike’s setting.
A few spots of rain in the afternoon had the young rider sit in the pit box before he could resume his testing programme. As soon as the conditions improved Viñales had his final go on the YZR-M1 and had enough minutes left to end the test with a time attack. Though unable to beat his own best lap, he is leaving the Sepang track feeling confident, having completed 72 laps today.
Rossi also didn’t let any time go to waste on the last opportunity of testing in Malaysia. He filled his morning session with evaluating a new tyre for Michelin and building on his findings from the previous testing days.
Similar to teammate Viñales, the Doctor was eager to start his afternoon session as soon as track conditions allowed. His fastest lap from the morning was a 2’00.125s, putting him in eleventh place, 0.756s from the top, but the Doctor had a trick up his sleeve. Once he got back out on track he fully committed to improving his position in the rankings and set the fourth fastest time, a 1’59.589s, 0.221s from first, on lap 50 of 62. He ended the test day in fifth place as the pace quickened in the final minutes.
The team will now return to Europe whilst the engineers return to Japan to process the data and take their 2017 MotoGP preparation another step further. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will regroup in Phillip Island from Feb 15th – 17th for the second pre-season test of 2017.
Massimo Meregalli – Team director, Yamaha Motor Racing
“This morning we knew it would be important to make the most of the dry and cooler track conditions so we started testing as soon as we could. We are satisfied about the way that the development proceeded over the last three days. We have been able to evaluate many items without facing any difficulties. We have been testing the frame, fairing, electronics, mapping and the tyres and we’ve collected a lot of data but, even more importantly, we have already been able to make some decisions for the 2017 season. We also received good feedback on the tyre life, which is one of the topics we focused on most during this test and this allowed us to not only to be quicker but also increase our consistency. Leaving Sepang with the fastest lap time to our name, we are now looking forward to head to Phillip Island where we will continue the development of our bike. Maverick, Valentino, the team and the Japanese engineers all did an excellent job and we are feeling confident about the next test.”
“Today again, like yesterday, we worked mainly on the race pace. We improved the pace a lot. I am quite surprised I could attain a 1’59 and I am really happy, because it was very fast and the bike was going well. We tried many things during this week, so I think we can have a better package for the next test in Australia. We will bring many good things to Phillip Island. At the moment it is difficult to say which aspect of the bike surprised me most. We are developing the bike, trying to better the package that we have, and I think for sure we have the best bike at the moment for one lap and on race distance. Step by step we are choosing the best things.”
“I’m quite happy, it was a good test, because my lap times were OK and 1’59.589 is not so bad and we are all very close at the top. In general, the feeling with the bike is positive and today we also found something interesting to further improve the bike. At the end it was a challenging test but we found something positive.”