MotoGP – rookie Vinales continues rapid rise to the top

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MotoGP starlet Maverick Vinales upped the pace on the third day of practice and finished the day in 12th place.

Vinales, may be a rookie but he’s already starting to look comfortable on the new GSX-RR and posted a time of 2min .00.964sec; a significant improvement of 2.2-seconds from his initial first-session time.

The Spaniard was happy with his speed, but believes he can go even quicker. He said: “I’m very happy as we worked so hard from the opening day of the test and we made some big steps forward. We improved more than two seconds from the first day, so we are very happy. We worked so much with the chassis all the time during the past three days and I believe that we can go two-to-three steps better now.

“I would like to concentrate a little bit more on the engine-side for me at the next test, but the chassis is perfect; I can go 100 per cent on the bike and I can push so much more with the front tyre, so that this is what I really like a lot with the bike. I can go so fast into the corners and this is the big advantage. If we are able to have slightly more engine power, and keep this advantage of the chassis, I believe that we can make even bigger improvements.

“Although I’m struggling a little bit on how to manage the tyres – as it’s so very different to Moto2 – finding the best lines is a slightly difficult-point for me right now. My team helped me a lot finding the best lines and I managed this and improved a lot during the test. I’m so happy that all the crews and engineers worked so hard for me during these three days of testing and I’m really looking forward to our next test.”
Team Boss Davide Brivio was confident the team had addressed its reliability issues. he said: “I’m very happy with this test because we were able to achieve some good improvements and also get some good answers and feedback. First of all, our reliability has greatly improved, we have run for three-days now, plus two-days previously with our test riders; which means five-days without any problems. This shows that the engineers at the factory in Japan have worked well during the winter, and they have made a great effort.

“We were also able to work a lot with both our riders and put-in many laps and this helped them both to understand the bike more and we could therefore improve the settings of their machines. We also made good improvements on the electronics-side as well, and overall, the package seems to be at a good level already, because we learned that we have a very good chassis and a very good bike which Aleix and Maverick are happy to ride.

“The other thing that we have to mention is that our riders are obviously a very-strong factor of this whole package and development: They work very hard and they get along with the team crews very well, which I believe is very important; so there are many positive elements here. But we also know our weak-points, but I think our engineers have acquired sufficient information here to find a solution to them all. We still have a lot of work to do and there’s a long way ahead to achieve them yet, but I would say that we are having a promising start. It’s been a hard winter for everybody and I want to thank all the guys in Japan; everyone needs to continue going forward and we have to continue to give our best.”

SUZUKI MotoGP returns to Sepang at the end of the month to continue development of the GSX-RR and test new settings and development acquired this week, in readiness for the opening MotoGP Championship round at Losail, Qatar on March 29th.

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