Maverick Viñales believes both he and Movistar Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi are taking a strong package to the next official MotoGP test after he produced yet more evidence that he could be a title contender at Sepang.
The 22-year old posted a fastest time of 1m 59.368s on Wednesday, enough to top the combined time sheets by 0.084s, to ensure he placed inside the top three on each of the three days in Malaysia.
As he has stressed all week long, Viñales was using this test to work on race pace and tyre degradation, an area he feels is key after seeing world champion Marc Marquez's supreme consistency at the Valencia test in November.
In that respect, Viñales was highly satisfied with Wednesday's work. He posted 19 laps in the 2m 0s bracket, and a whopping ten in the 1m 59s. When it came to outright pace, few could compete. Alvaro Bautista's four laps in the 59s was the next highest tally.
Not that Viñales was allowing himself to get carried away. “Sure, still I have to improve,” he said on Wednesday evening. “The lap times were quite close so we want to be ready. We want to do as well as we can.
“This week we worked really well on the race set-up. We didn't focus so much on one lap, we focussed more on the good lap time for four, five, six laps. I can say that we did a good job and we bring a good package to Australia.
“I feel really good. The bike improved a lot. Every time we go to the track we make one step. That's why I'm happy. We don't go back.
“For me the [M1's] traction [was a surprise]. It's really, really constant, so you can work a lot on the entry of the corner, the corner speed. Honestly it makes it easy to make the lap time all the time on the same pace.
“Anyway I can feel that still there is a lot of work, with myself and my riding style. Still I can take more profit of our bike. Still, I'm not doing the best lines for the bike so I know there is a lot of potential to develop.”
While his speed was never in doubt, Viñales will be all-too-aware of Marquez's impressive consistency on the final day. Although the reigning world champion only posted three laps in the 1m 59s to Viñales' ten, Marquez ticked off an incredible 39 laps in the 2m 0s, compared to the Yamaha man's 19.
For Viñales a race simulation should be forthcoming at the next test at Phillip Island. “I didn't but I did many sets and had race distance on the tyres. The lap times were really good. I didn't do it because it was raining but for sure I will do one in Australia even if it's really dangerous there.”
Along with a revised fairing, on which he was unable to comment, Viñales did more testing on a new Yamaha chassis on the final day, but remains unsure whether he will continue with it going forward.
“Yeah, I like it but still there is some things that we need to improve,” he said. “We are not 100 percent sure if we are going to continue or not so we need to try it during a race simulation.”