News 15 Nov 2017

Yamaha tests multiple chassis combinations to find direction

Mixed responses from Viñales and Rossi following first pre-season test.

Source: Supplied.

Movistar Yamaha put multiple chassis combinations to the test on day one of pre-season MotoGP testing at Valencia in order to decide on a direction for next year, where riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi placed first and fourth respectively on the time-sheets.

Viñales continued to work throughout the afternoon, concentrating on the 2016 bike after riding the 2017-spec model earlier in the day. He completed 80 laps in total, more than any other of the participating riders.

“On completely the same bike that I had during the Valencia GP weekend I felt much better,” said Viñales. “Like I’ve come back to my usual form – I was pushing on every single lap like always and already in the morning I felt great. Today I enjoyed riding a lot. I felt strong again and this is very positive. We tried many things – some were positive, others negative.

“I think we did a good job working on the race set-up, especially with the fuel tank completely full, we worked quite well on that area. Finally, we did the time attack and I felt like I could lower the time still more, so I feel good on the bike again. The smiles returned, that’s very important. We have many things to try tomorrow and to reconfirm. I felt like it was my Yamaha again.

“I was as fast on the 2017 bike as on the 2016 bike. We see positive points with both of them. I feel well on both bikes. On the 2016 bike I can brake and enter the corner better, on the 2017 I can exit better. I rode the 2016 bike all afternoon. I have to do some more laps on the 2017 bike to make a decision between the two, but I feel the 2017 bike has more potential, if the bike is working like it was today, but if it works like it did in Sunday’s race I don’t know.”

For Rossi, who walked away from a significant crash during the session just two laps into riding the 2018 prototype, said the team and himself still have work to do on the rear tyre degradation issue that’s been hindering him this season.

“The day was not so bad,” Rossi commented. “We had a bit more time to work on the 2016 chassis that we already tried on Sunday, and I feel good and strong. The day was quite positive, because I have a good pace and with the new tyres I could make some good lap times. I’m in P4, not so far from the top.

“The feeling with the bike is also quite positive – we were able to find the right balance. The problem is that, like we know, we have rear tyre degradation. That means changing to the 2016 chassis is not enough, we have work to do, but I can confirm I’m able to go faster on the old bike. The second run was with the new engine, that is the first 2018 prototype, but unfortunately I only did two laps and then I crashed.

“I hope they’ll be able to fix it, so we can use the engine again some other time tomorrow, so I can understand it better. I think the engine can maybe be a bit faster, but it doesn’t help solve the rear tyre degradation.”

Viñales and Rossi will return to the Valencia circuit along with the rest of the MotoGP paddock on Wednesday for the second and final day of the first pre-season test.