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Maverick Viñales at the 2017 Sepang test

Viñales sets the blocks alight as MotoGP tears up Sepang

Feb 012017

So far Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales has not dropped out of the top three on the time sheets in every single test day he has completed since sticking his #25 number on the front of the fearsome works M1 at the end of 2016. In Malaysia this week the 22 year old Spaniard was again a worrying prospect for his MotoGP rivals through the speed traps after posting the fastest lap of the often-damp and relentlessly-humid Sepang circuit to front the pack in the first ’17 showing for the series and the opening test of three that will see the grid head to Australia and then Qatar in the coming weeks.

Intermittent showers and a slick asphalt at the venue a short distance from Kuala Lumpur airport meant three days of often stop-start action as the MotoGP testing window opened for the first time this year. As well as the chance to shed winter cobwebs and reengage some muscle memory at speed, Sepang was also an opportunity for the factories to trial some new components ahead of the forthcoming world championship trail; Ducati’s bodywork, Honda’s exhaust dimensions and Yamahas ‘internal’ aerodynamic wings were just some of the novel technical additions on display and being tried out by most of the fastest motorcycle riders in the world.

“We worked mainly on the race pace,” the Catalan said. “We improved the pace a lot. I am quite surprised I could attain a 1'59 and I am really happy because it was very fast and the bike was going well. We tried many things during this week. I think for sure we have the best bike at the moment for one lap and on race distance. Step by step we are choosing the best things.”