Yamaha MotoGP new-boy Maverick Vinales has set the fastest time on the opening day of testing at Valencia, heading new team-mate Valentino Rossi by 0.020s on a bike he had never ridden before this morning while Jorge Lorenzo was third on his first run out for Ducati.
Vinales used a 2016-spec M1 set a 1’30.930 on his 55th lap aboard the M1 compared to Rossi’s 1’33.950 with the former champion in third only a tenth behind his old team-mate and a tenth quicker than his new one, Andrea Dovizioso although Lorenzo was riding a GP16 and the Italian a GP17. Between the Bologna teamsters was Marc Marquez who tested an RC213V with a very different firing order to this season’s. It sounds an awful lot like a Ducati on track and many in the paddock believe it is a long-bang engine instead of a big-bang. Marquez ended the day 0.172s slower than Vinales with eight laps less under his belt.
Cal Crutchlow was again best of the Brits in sixth place, one ahead of Andrea Iannone, who has taken to the Ecstar Suzuki GSX-RR with aplomb. The Italian set a best of 1’31.165 for fourth place despite a heavy crash at turn 10 while Scott Redding took eighth, one ahead of Hector Barbera. Dani Pedrosa, who is still injured, completed a close top ten which was covered by 0.376s.
Jack Miller ended in 11th and only 0.171s behind Pedrosa while Alvaro Bautista showed good pace on his first Ducati run, setting a 1’31.674 best lap. He was followed by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro - standing in for the absent Danilo Petrucci - with Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia debut ending in 14th.
Jonas Folder won the battle of the rookies in 16th place, one behind Loris Baz, and was followed by Johann Zarco in 17th. Suzuki new-boy Alex Rins ended the day in 21st, struggling to adapt his lines from Moto2, while Bradley Smith put the KTM one place ahead in 20th. Aprilia test rider Eugene Laverty finished in 22nd with Sam Lowes down in a surprising 24th.
Rossi, Crutchlow and both Espargaro brothers crashed during the session, as did Baz and Lowes. Aprilia and Suzuki test riders Laverty and Takuya Tsuda also fell.