Maverick Vi?ales, Yamaha's man of the moment, believes he would be ready to race if the first race of the season was held today, after he ended the first session of the final preseason test in Qatar second fastest.

The 22-year-old, who has been fastest at each of the three previous tests, admitted to feeling surprise at his ability to lap in the low 1m 55s - just a tenth of a second off lap record pace - within a handful of laps on Friday night.

Once again the Catalan spent the evening working through a variety of engine mapping and traction control settings, in a bid to prolong tyre life, while attempting to improve Yamaha's newest chassis, a component he has yet to make a final decision on.

Still, all things considered Vi?ales believes he is "ready" to race, and expressed his pleasure at showing an explosive turn of pace at yet another circuit.

"[I'm] Good," he began, having finished the first day 0.36s off Andrea Dovizioso's incredible fastest time at the close of Friday evening.

"I'm happy because it's another track and I feel good also. We can say that I did a good adaptation to the bike and the team is happy. They are working really hard.

"Every time I go to the track I feel better and that we improve. Today I think the lap times were quite fast for the first day in Qatar.

"Dovizioso just fly. Incredible! I try but it was impossible to go in the 54s now - at least with the race tyre. I think we did a good job.

"We have to be happy because I feel that every time better with the team, better with all the people inside and we are quite strong at each track.

"We didn't change [the bike] so much [from Phillip Island]. We are trying to find a little more grip. We are trying to be more fast to the apex of the corners so that we modify a lot. but in the end the set up is quite similar."

And does he feel as though Yamaha is making steps with tyre life, a facet that has been his focus in recent months?

"It's good. It's good. We are going in the right way. Sure, we have to try much more maps in all of power and traction control to make the race set-up ready on the test.

"You never know. You might go to the race, they change the tyres and you have to work again.

"My riding, and also the bike, we're on a good level. For sure if the race is tomorrow I'd be ready and really happy, you know? We have a good set-up, good package and I know if I push 100 percent I can be there, at the front, fighting."

"[But] For sure [I'm surprised at my pace] because today I didn't expect to make a 55.1s in lap six of the tyre, and then 55.4, 55.4. It's really constant but anyway we cannot sleep because everyone is working really hard so we have to push."

On putting Yamaha's two chassis through their paces, he added, "Since Australia I've been using the new one.

"I'm trying to improve the new one. Let's check. Some laps I do with the new one. Some with the used. A lot of work! It's difficult to concentrate to make constant lap times."



Loading Comments...