Viñales fastest on opening Valencia test day

Viñales fastest on opening Valencia test day

14 November 2017 – Yamaha's Maverick Viñales led the way on the opening day of post-season MotoGP testing in sunny conditions at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo Circuit on Tuesday.

As usual, the MotoGP paddock has stayed on at the venue for two days of running, allowing teams to evaluate a variety of machinery and parts, and enable some riders to adapt to new surroundings.

Viñales sampled several chassis and engine options as he and Yamaha attempted to understand and learn from its slide down the competitive order through the second half of the 2017 campaign.

Yamaha brought four combinations of chassis and engines as it ramped up its efforts, one of which included a revised aerofairing on the M1, which he debuted prior to the lunch break.

Viñales, during the final hour, moved to the front with a time of 1:30.189, to finish 0.200s clear of Tech 3's Johann Zarco, having clocked his best lap on Yamaha's 2016 chassis, with the engine spec not confirmed.

Zarco, meanwhile, recorded his quickest lap on Yamaha's 2017 chassis, having earlier run Yamaha's 2016 chassis, the bike which he used throughout the course of his rookie campaign in the premier class.

World Champion Marc Márquez was third, trialling different Honda bikes, having saved another near-crash early in proceedings, when he lost the front end of his RC213V through Turn 10.

Though Márquez, who was last rider to join the action, racked up mileage on the prototype 2018 bike, his quickest lap, set shortly after the conclusion of the lunch break, came on his 2017 Honda.

Valentino Rossi ensured Yamaha finished with three riders in the top four, as he recovered from a sizeable crash at Turn 10, which caused substantial damage to his bike.

Jack Miller displayed encouraging pace as he sampled Ducati's Desmosedici for the first time, following three years on Honda machinery, which featured spells at LCR and Marc VDS.

Miller finished in fifth position, just 0.446s behind Viñales, ahead of his move to Pramac for 2018.

Aleix Espargaró was sixth for Aprilia, in front of the factory Ducati pair of Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.

Pol Espargaró placed ninth for KTM, and the final rider to lap within a second of Viñales' pace-setting time, as LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow completed the top 10.

Valencian Grand Prix winner Dani Pedrosa finished 11th, ahead of KTM's Bradley Smith and Avintia newcomer Tito Rabat, who crashed early on as he got to grips with the Ducati.

Danilo Petrucci finished ahead of former team-mate Scott Redding, the Briton completing his first day with Aprilia, while Aspar endured a terrible day, with hefty crashes for both riders.

Karel Abraham crashed through the high-speed Turn 7 in the closing stages and clutched his arm and wrist as he walked away, with his bike sustaining substantial damage after being sent through the gravel trap.

Álvaro Bautista, meanwhile, completed minimal running before a suspected gearbox problem jolted his bike through Turn 1, pitching the Spaniard into a high-side, landing heavily on the tarmac.

Bautista underwent a precautionary check-up at a nearby hospital as a result, and while he suffered no fractures, back pain side-lined him from the remainder of the day's action.

LCR debutant Takaaki Nakagami was the quickest of the 2018 rookies in 17th spot, 2.534s behind Viñales, while Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli (Marc VDS) was just 0.039s further back.

With Morbidell's 2018 team-mate Tom Lüthi unable to participate due to the ankle injury he sustained in Malaysia, Marc VDS handed track time to Honda tester Takumi Takahashi.

Takahashi was another to crash through the right-hand kink at Turn 10 as he wound up 19th overall.

Due to Lüthi's absence, Moto2 rider Álex Márquez, younger brother of Marc, is set to conduct running on the squad's MotoGP bike at Jerez week, in order to aid running.

Avintia's Xavier Siméon also fell at Turn 10 as he finished last of the 20 classified runners, over four seconds off the pace.

Suzuki suffered a setback as neither Andrea Iannone nor Álex Rins were able to run due to both suffering from a minor viral infection.

In addition, Tech 3 fielded only one entry, for Zarco, with Jonas Folger out of action until the New Year, having been diagonsed with a strain Gilbert's Syndrome, meaning four confirmed 2018 riders did not test.

MotoGP testing will resume on Wednesday at 10:00 local time



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