Ecstar Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales started the 2016 in fine style, setting the fifth fastest time in today’s opening MotoGP free practice session and matched nine-time champion Valentino Rossi lap-for-lap in the final run while using the new, fully-seamless gearbox.
The young Spaniard, who has already been tipped to replace Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda next year, has two gearboxes to use this weekend, one which is seamless for all shifts and one that is just up, and he says the full system works well but needs some more setup work.
“It’s been a positive first session, we started from where we left-off at the tests and I feel quite confident with the bike. Today I tried only one set of tyres, with the harder compound, both to verify the performance consistency and to keep some softer for the next sessions,” said Vinales, who set his best time at 16 laps on the hard rear.
“Although they got worn I managed to improve my lap times consistently and I scored my best at the last one, which is positive for me both for the race and for the feeling that I have. I have also tested the full seamless, but we still need to work on its set-up, our objective is to adopt it definitively as soon as possible, this is why we will continue testing and try to find a good set -up. It’s only the beginning, but my feelings are positive and the improvements are consistent, which gives me good hopes for the next days.”