STAYING ON TOP: Maverick Vinales topped the final day of testing at Phillip Island, Australia. Image: Yamaha MotoGP
Australia - The three-day event saw two winners; world champion Marc Marquez, who celebrates his 24th birthday today (February 17) and Yamaha newcomer Maverick Vinales who set set the fastest time on the day.
Following the day two session, Vinales was the first rider to break into the 1min28s, with a time of 1:28.847 and improving his time on day three to 1:28.549 after 101 laps.
Vinales said: "It was a very positive test for us. We came here to try many items and now we got things clear and we already know which set-up we can start using in Qatar. We did a lot of work and I’m happy about that. Today we concentrated mainly on the race pace and I’m satisfied, but we’re still able to improve. We didn’t decide on the fairing yet, it’s still totally open, you never know."
Birthday boy Marquez did not trail far behind Vinales, 0.462 seconds slower. Earlier in testing, the Honda rider did 107 laps, but insisted that something was still missing and that he is not "comfortable" yet. After finishing the day three session, Marquez was much happier with his performance and results.
Marquez said: "I’m very happy with how it went today because we improved a lot, especially in the afternoon, even if I did my best lap time in the morning. In the end I felt much more comfortable and it seems that yesterday’s long runs were useful for improving the electronics and getting closer to the level we wanted to reach.
"Overall, I think it has been three very positive days, and we did a good job. Of course we shouldn't forget that this circuit is quite particular, and in Qatar we’ll see where we really are."
Yamaha recruit Maverick Vinales led the way on the final day of #MotoGP's Phillip Island test. https://t.co/B0NURcPGFO pic.twitter.com/0uUqqvYjm7
Ducati newcomer and three-time world champion, Jorge Lorenzo improved on his times - he finished in P12 and P15, but ended day three testing in P8, behind team mate Andrea Dovizioso in P7.
Lorenzo said: "Today we made an important step forward to better understanding the bike, just like we did on the final day of the test in Sepang, and my lap times improved a lot. It was a pity that we were not able to use the soft tyre this morning, when the track conditions were ideal, because I think I could have got my time down by another three-tenths.
"But, as I said, for me at this moment the times are not as important as the feeling on the bike and understanding the most efficient way to ride it. For the moment we’ve still got a lot of work to do, especially to get the bike to turn in the corners. In any case, all things considered, I think that we finished this test in quite a positive way."
READ: #MotoGP testing - Vinales fastest on Day 2
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa who suffered from a fever and throat infection yesterday, concluded the final session in the top three, behind Vinales and team mate, Marquez.
Pedrosa said: "Overall I think it’s been a very positive test, especially considering that this isn’t one of my favourite tracks. I was riding quite well and I think we improved day by day. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well but today I felt a bit better and we were able to do a good job on the track.
"The team has worked very well. We focused again on electronics and on the setup of the bike, and the only thing we missed was a long run, as we ran out of time. Michelin have also made some good steps forward with the tyres. All in all, we can say we’re heading in the right direction, even if we still have some work to do."
The MotoGP rookies from Moto2 have improved tremendously, even outshining some of the premier class veterans. Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech3) ended the day as the fourth fastest man on the track. Alex Rins (Suzuki) finished seven spots ahead of team mate Andrea Iannone (P13) in P6.
Bike test and comparisons
The riders have been testing and comparing ‘16 and ‘17 engines to see which works best, as well as comparing electronics.
Teams like Yamaha have been focusing on their chassis’ and tested a new fairing at the Sepang test. The new engine and electronics on their YZR-M1 has proved to be an improvement. The Yamaha team have confirmed that Valentino Rossi will be using the new chassis going forward this year.