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MotoGP Malaysia: Rain extinguishes ‘on fire’ Vinales’ hopes

Maverick Viñales experiences the limits of Suzuki's electronics package in the wet; sure a victory challenge was forthcoming had conditions stayed dry.
The Malaysian Grand Prix was shaping up to be a repeat of Silverstone, according to Maverick Viñales, such was his pace around the Sepang circuit in the dry. But then the heavens opened.

In Sunday's race, the 21-year old experienced the familiar failings of Suzuki's package in wet conditions, with Viñales singling out the traction control as an element of the electronics package not suited to the rain.

Sixth was the best the Catalan could do in the last of the three flyaway encounters, a result made all the more frustrating considering his pace and feeling on Sunday morning.

“I'm disappointed that it rained because in the dry I think we were good," he said. "I was able to come to the top and maybe make something like Silverstone. This morning I felt so good and the tyres were in really good condition after eleven laps.

“Anyway, in the rain it's the same problem as always. We didn't find good electronics for the pace. The traction control was coming in too late and for me it was impossible to open the gas.

“On the brakes and with the corner speed we were really, really competitive. Then on the gas, quite a disaster!

“Going behind [Hector] Barbera and [Loris] Baz I was able to close the gap on the braking but in acceleration it was near impossible. The bike was really fast on the straight, really fast. But there was no way in the acceleration.

“Anyway, we did quite a good FP4 so we have quite a lot of information in case it rains in Valencia. If it does we will try to use it because I was feeling really good in FP4 in the wet.”

At Sepang, Viñales had the chance to become the first Suzuki rider to score three consecutive podium finishes in the top class since Kenny Roberts Jr. at the beginning of 2000.

While the result was far from what he had hoped, Viñales acknowledged the Suzuki GSX-RR is as competitive as it has been in his two-year stint with the factory, and described his riding as “on fire” in warm-up.

“I feel really good on the bike. I feel now we are one. This morning when I was riding, I was using just one metre of line because the rest was wet. It was so good.

“Honestly I felt like I was on fire when I was riding the bike in the dry. So we will see. I'm quite curious to go to Valencia because in the test we were riding really fast, and we hope the weather stays a little bit better.”

Heading to Valencia for his Suzuki swansong, a track at which he and team-mate Aleix Espargaro tested during the season, Viñales believes another strong result is entirely possible.

“More than a benefit, it's because the bike now is the best bike we've had. There it was not the best bike. For sure when we go now we're going to go really fast.

“But when I finished I can push to what my mind says. I can brake when I want and then go in when I want to go in. That was the main point here – I was very strong on the brakes.”

Tagged as: barbera , Espargaro , Viñales

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November 01, 2016 10:25 AM

If it had been dry I had Vinales for the win, it belive it could have been another Silverstone. Both he and Aleix are saying the same thing that the bike has reached a really good level now, and the performances the last few races show it too, it is a really competitive bike, in only two years Suzuki have done a very impressive job. Maybe if Vinales had stayed he could have tried to win a championship with Suzuki in the next couple of years, who knows. The whole project was centered around him, they brought him specially from moto2, he was the number 1 rider and he has done an incredible job with them helping develop the bike being such a young rider. Now he'll go to Yamaha where things could be a bit more disfunctional, and Suzuki will have two new riders for next year, which could affect the development. I wonder if he would have signed with Yamaha if they had asked him now, maybe he still would, but Lorenzo's early move pushed eveyone to make contract decisions too early in the

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