Maverick Viñales continued his rapid pre-season form by placing second on the first night of MotoGP testing at Qatar, before revealing he could hardly believe the time he had set, which was only eclipsed by world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
After his 2015 showing, the Suzuki rider's speed in the previous Phillip Island test hardly came as a surprise but the 21-year old's pace was again impressive, as he lapped 0.8s faster than his best time from his previous visit to this track.
Such was the comfort he felt aboard Suzuki's 2015 chassis, the young Spaniard was surprised when he saw that he was one of only three riders to lap under the 1m 56s barrier.
“I feel the bike was working good,” said Viñales. “The first two exits there was a problem with the electronics. Then when we put it in place it was going quite well. Step-by-step I was going better. With the old chassis the lap time comes so fast. I could not believe when I saw the 1m 55s [time]. I didn't make so many laps and already I was quite fast.
“Then with the new chassis it was more difficult to go fast. Still tomorrow we're going to try the new chassis and try to work on the set-up. On the old chassis it is already one year that we try many things. The new chassis we've had two practice and we're already quite close to the old one. For sure we need to try it more.”
Viñales, who continued to use Suzuki's seamless upshift gearbox on Wednesday with the hope of testing the fully seamless transmission on Thursday, went on to explain how the '16 frame is heavier, making it more difficult to choose his ideal line.
Still, he feels it is worth working with the new chassis further to assess its full potential. “For me the '15 the good thing is I can go where I want with the bike. I can make this line one metre out, then go in. I feel the bike more light. I can do the lines better. With the new one I feel more grip but it is still heavy. We are working to make it more light.”
Having adapted the current electronics package to the circuit's layout fairly quickly, Viñales also stated he will seek more rear grip in Thursday's session.
Finally, the 2013 Moto3 world champion spoke of his feelings, should he challenge for the podium early into his second season in the premier class.
“For sure I will feel great. More than nervous I will feel great. It's one thing I've always wanted. If I have the opportunity I will push like never [before]. Anyway, I think it's always good to be fast in the test because this gives you more energy and more energy to Suzuki to keep working hard.”