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After 2 years riding a donkey, it takes a little time to get used to a thoroughbred. The Doncati will have had some effect on VR46's riding style and he'll probably have to get rid of some bad habits.
Also, when so much time is lost due to mechanical / electrical / electronic gremlins, then the acclimatisation period gets longer.
Despite this VR46 is within 0.07 secs of JLo's best. Vale will get faster as he gets settled in and gets the bike tweaked to his preference.
He will also play the will he / won't he publicity to maximum effect and keep everyone guessing.
We should also remember that Yamaha are being vague about gearbox development, yet even Jlo says the bike would be better with seamless shift. With the top four so close, the Yamaha gearbox may well be the pivotal crteria in the championship.
I think ALL the top four riders will get wins this year, and the Championship may be decided by the other podium places.