Maverick Vinales made use of some new winglets to unleash extra power from his Suzuki on the way to third in Friday practice for the Austrian MotoGP.

The new winglets helped counter wheelies from the front his GSX-RR, in turn allowing more engine power to be used.

"We bring new winglets that give us the possibility to add more power on the bike," confirmed Vinales, fastest of all in the cold morning session and behind only the factory Ducatis in the afternoon.

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"It is an improvement at the end of second gear, then third and fourth. There is not so much wheelie so we can put a little bit more power. We are still finding how exactly how much power we can put, but today we can feel already that the bike is a little faster. So it helps a lot in the first and second sectors of the lap.

"The bike is not so bad on top speed also - I was sixth for top speed - so we are going to try to keep this level until the end of the weekend. Honestly I was feeling good, riding smooth on the bike. I felt like I was riding only yesterday, so I wasn't affected by the summer break."

Vinales' main aim is to try and further improve acceleration, to help him overtake in the race.

"I think in the test we were also competitive for grip, because the asphalt is quite good. We will see. We are trying to make better acceleration, because it will be important for fighting in the race."

Vinales, who had been 0.9s from the top at July's Red Bull Ring test, was 0.854s behind Andrea Dovizioso on Friday. However this time Vinales got the better of the rest of the grid, putting him firmly in contention for a second career podium if he can continue his form.

But he could be the only Suzuki rider in the race, with team-mate Aleix Espargaro suffering a finger fracture and hand sprain in a fast accident.

"Unfortunately Aleix incurred a crash at a time he was feeling good and was making solid improvements with faster-and-faster lap-times" said team-mate Davide Brivio. "The crash generated a small fracture and he will need some physiotherapy this evening, so let's wait to see how he will feel in the night and then tomorrow morning and together we will decide what to do.

"This was a pity because the day could have been fully positive because Maverick had a very positive first day. For the moment he feels comfortable, so let's hope tomorrow we can recover Aleix and try to do a good weekend with the whole team."

Wings will be banned in MotoGP from the end of this season.

By Peter McLaren