Sixteen-year-old Spanish prospect Maverick Vinales is building towards the 2012 Moto3 Championship following a test at Almeria in Spain this week on a Honda-powered FTR prototype.
Vinales, who became the third youngest competitor at 16 years, 123 days to win a Grand Prix behind Scott Redding and Marco Melandri when he wrapped up his debut victory in the 125cc World Championship at Le Mans in France this year, marked himself out as a future star as he finished third overall in the points standings in his rookie campaign in the class.
He won four races in total in the Paris Hilton-backed Blusens-BQR team this season and will spearhead the outfit's Moto3 challenge in 2012.
Teething problems with Honda's FTR prototype restricted the number of laps completed by the team, but Vinales managed to rattle off 20 laps and was also rewarded with an outing on the team's Moto2 machine in appreciation of his promising debut in the 125cc championship this year.
“What a surprise the team gave me,” Vinales said on the official MotoGP website. “It's true that I had asked the team to let me try a Moto2 at some point, but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. I was surprised by its power and acceleration, it was really fun and I want to thank the team.
“But the important thing is that we were able to test the FTR Moto3 and we got very valuable information to keep working throughout the pre-season.”