Vinales tops opening MotoGP test in Valencia

Paul Taylor
By Paul Taylor
platinum_paul ex-BikeSocial Production Editor turned freelancer. Worked in bike industry for 15 years, gets fatter and slower every year. Unhealthy obsession with Honda C90s, top boxes and small bikes.
Maverick Vinales

Maverick Vinales marked his Yamaha debut by topping the timesheets in his first outing on the YZR-M1 while the man he replaced at the factory Yamaha squad, Jorge Lorenzo, was equally impressive on his debut for the works Ducati team.

Both riders spent the day getting used to their new manufacturer’s 2016 bikes, with Lorenzo out of the blocks as soon as pitlane opened at 10am local time.

By the end of the day, Vinales (pictured) had racked up two race distances worth of saddle time and stopped the clock with a best time of 1:30.930. Lorenzo was the fastest Ducati runner in third, just over a tenth of a second behind Vinales on his old bike.

Splitting Vinales and Lorenzo was Valentino Rossi, who spent a session on the 2016 bike before quickly getting down to business on the 2017 M1. The Italian legend did have a crash early in the afternoon session, but ended the day just two hundreds of a second behind his new team-mate.

Taking up fourth was world champion Marc Marquez, running a new Repsol Honda with a revised firing order engine. Behind him was Andrea Dovizioso on the new Ducati, with Cal Crutchlow sixth on another 2017-spec Honda. The Brit was also a crasher, as was seventh placed Andrea Iannone on his Suzuki debut and Pol Espargaro on his KTM debut. Scott Redding was eighth fastest on his first outing on the 2016-spec Ducati. Bradley Smith was 20th on the second KTM, with the Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Sam Lowes both suffering crashes in the afternoon and ending the day in 22nd and 24th respectively.

With all the teams and riders running different test programmes and having their own objectives from the test, it is hard to ascertain exactly what today’s initial test means for the 2017 season. However, early suggestions are that Vinales and Lorenzo both look very much at home with their new steeds, while Honda have been working hard to address the power delivery problems that their riders have complained about this season.

Tomorrow sees a final day of testing at Valencia for the MotoGP riders.

Valencia test
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