Feeling the benefits of a running a new Yamaha chassis, and spurred on by team-mate Valentino Rossi’s absence, Maverick Viñales scorched to a fourth pole position of 2017. But the 22-year old revealed soon after that a change in riding approach was key to his speed around the tight, twisty Misano circuit.

“At Silverstone I ride in my way,” Viñales said on Saturday evening. “Being aggressive trying to make the lap time. Today I try to ride smooth, trying to be careful on the gas. So, I think we found something to improve, especially on the riding style. It’s something really important.”

For Viñales’ riding coach Wilco Zeelenberg, the #25’s speed through free practice 3, 4 and qualifying was, in part, due to a change in braking approach. The Catalan still has a propensity to brake late and deep, which, at times, can negate one of the M1’s great strengths – corner speed.

Zeelenberg explained: “As you know, since the package improves and he is so motivated to do well he is always braking very late and deep into the corner. With the Yamaha it’s not always ideal. There are some corners where you shouldn’t do that. You should brake a bit earlier and release earlier.

“The bike is able to carry the corner speed. He is not used to doing that, even with the Suzuki. It was completely the opposite. It is one part of his riding style that he learned himself from the past.

“Some moments it’s good because if you compared him to Jorge, we always asked him to brake later and deeper. And with him it was the opposite way. With Jorge, releasing so early the brake and putting the load on the front so gently it didn’t create enough temperature in the front tyre. Maverick is a little bit the opposite.

“With Jorge there were always problems with graining. With Maverick never. So they ride different. But it’s not easy to accomplish and to be always spot on and I think in the qualifying he understood that he had to do it, and he had to try it. Let’s hope and we need to mention it every practice, but this is there. Just don’t brake too deep into the corner.”

On Friday, Viñales talked up the ’18 prototype chassis that he has not only used throughout the Misano weekend, but also during his ride to second at Silverstone. While the revised frame aids rider feeling on corner entry, Zeelenberg believes adjustments to the M1’s traction control were of greater significance.

“It [the chassis] is not very different,” said Zeelenberg. “It’s just the feeling is a bit better. That’s why they are using it. As they said in Silverstone, the bigger improvement was on the traction control side in the electronics. It gives them more feel and better controllability. For them that’s more important than the chassis.

“For you guys it’s always better with the chassis because the electronics, you can see nothing. That’s the situation, but on the other side they’re also using it. That means something. Both riders felt better which was a surprise.

“It was not the aim to have something new [for Silverstone. It was] To try something for next year because many parts were different. It was not easy to accomplish but it was also another problem.”

And with bad weather forecast for Sunday, could these recent improvements with electronics aid Viñales speed in potentially wet conditions? “Of course, we are keen to find out,” Zeelenberg said, knowing Viñales had complained of the electronics set-up in the wet qualifying at the Sachsenring. “I hope not tomorrow! But anyway, it is what it is, but we have to prepared for all circumstances.

“Our wish is that it’s dry and I think that gives the best chance of a good race tomorrow, an interesting race, and a good show. With the rain, anything can happen and it can put the championship on its head completely.”



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