A week ago Maverick Viñales stressed the importance of working on consistency, rather than outright speed, and he was as good as his word at Sunday’s MotoGP test at Sepang, the Catalan ending a ‘very positive’ day 13th fastest.

Having sampled wet and mixed conditions in late morning/early afternoon – one of the '17 Yamaha M1s glaring weak points 2017 -, Viñales focused on bike set-up and string laps together during the hottest part of the day, when grip was at its lowest.

The 23-year old, who announced a two-year contract extension with Yamaha last week, was using a new Yamaha engine housed inside a chassis he first sample at a private test in Malaysia last November.

Focusing principally on electronics, Viñales was pleased with results. Both he and team-mate Valentino Rossi finished testing early when placed well, before a number of names fitted new tyres and pushed him outside the top ten.

“It's the same chassis we used in November,” Viñales said. “Anyway, we are trying to concentrate very well on the electronics, working corner by corner on the long runs, trying to get everything we can from the electronics. For me last year, that's where we lost more.

“I tried to do long runs at two o'clock to three o'clock, which is the time of the race, where I can simulate the grip more. Sure in the afternoon the track is faster, but I need to be fast at two o'clock.

“There is a real improvement [with tyre life], because from lap zero to lap twenty, I just lost 0.3, 0.4, so that's very positive. I felt great with that, but still I think we can improve a lot.”

Pressed for his thoughts on Yamaha’s new engine, Viñales continued: “It's different. We still have to understand very well how it works, because we need it to last well in the last laps.

“The engine braking is a little bit different. So we need to make more laps to decide. I wish that it rains tomorrow, so I can practice in the wet.”

And what of the new bike in wet conditions? “[It’s] Not so bad,” he said. “I'm quite happy. We improved a lot from last year in the mixed conditions.”

Viñales fastest time of 2m 0.714s was 1.2s off Dani Pedrosa’s quickest lap of the day.


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