For the first Friday in some time, Maverick Viñales was speaking positively when assessing the day’s action as a “big change” with the electronics set-up of his Yamaha M1 pushed him toward the top of the MotoGP time sheets at the Circuit of the Americas.

The Catalan had spoken of his desire to have a pared down electronic aid system after the Grand Prix of Argentina, such was his need for a more forceful power delivery. From his words on Friday evening, it appears he has it, with Viñales stating, “I feel great” aboard the bike.

Free practice classification didn’t lie either, with the 23-year old ending the day with the third fastest time, 0.264s back of surprise pace setter Andrea Iannone. Viñales was also singled out by pre-race favourite Marc Marquez as a rider to watch on Sunday.

“We made a big change with the electronics compared to Argentina in the way I like," he said. "The bike today was working much better, much better for my riding style.

“So I think still we have a lot of room to improve on the electronics side and also a little bit with the set-up. This track I think is a little bit tricky with the bumps. Still we have to improve in that area.

“It [The electronics change] seems to work. Honestly, in FP2 I felt great. We lost a lot of time because I think the soft tyre was a little bit, let’s say, pre-heated. I had a lot of spin, a lot. But after that I changed to the medium tyre and I felt great on the bike.

“I felt still I could ride much faster than what I did. I think lap-by-lap it’s going to improve. From Argentina it improved a lot from the exit of the corners so we have to keep working like that.”

How does it feel better? “You know, I had much more aggressive electronics and controlling more by the hand than by the traction control and that’s what I’m looking for right now.

“I think it seems to work. Tomorrow I will try a little more on this side and let’s see if it works in the wet. So I’m quite happy overall. We’re going to try and push tomorrow.”

The day was notable for riders’ complaints regarding the track surface, which has been ‘planed’ in a bid to eradicate the notorious bumpy surface. Viñales concurred.

“Yeah, it’s really bad. Honestly it’s really bad. In FP1 it was horrible in the first laps. The bumps are there. I like to ride in Austin but riding like this is quite difficult; quite difficult to ride here.

“I hope for next year they can improve the track because right now it’s difficult to ride and it’s difficult on one lap to not make any mistakes – too many bumps. Last year for me track was even better.”

Does he feel its dangerous? “It’s going to be difficult because last year the track was better,” he said. “Maybe there were more bumps [last year] but the bumps were less aggressive. This year the bumps are like jumping and it’s quite dangerous, sure.”

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