Four days into the preseason and Maverick Viñales was gushing over the early version of Yamaha’s 2019 M1, stating, “I think this is the bike to be competitive and the bike to win the title.”

The Catalan posted the fourth fastest lap time of the test, his 1m 38.066s effort just 0.121s off Takaaki Nakagami’s surprise best. But it was his consistency on old tyres across the two days that was of most pleasure.

“I think we were very competitive with used tyres,” he said. “I could ride the bike very well during all the test. And this track for me is really difficult. I've never been fast with the MotoGP here.

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“This year I could keep really good lap times, I could push, so it's really important to be just one tenth away from the top here in this track, which is the most difficult for us.”

“We showed, we proved, and I think this is the bike to be competitive and the bike to win the title. I felt really good, Jerez is not my best track, I know. So being competitive on the lap times, normally I just lose two or three tenths when we had thirty laps on the tyre, so that is really important, the most important.

“I gave my best. We’ve been very competitive at Valencia and here. It was very important to be here and not in Malaysia, because in Malaysia, if you have an engine with top speed, you can do the lap time.

“But it's only one track, like Malaysia or Mugello, and at other tracks you have a lot of cornering, like here, so it's going to be very important the decision right now to see if we can improve especially the grip.”

Viñales’ comments were a stark contrast to team-mate Valentino Rossi, who was a good deal more downbeat when assessing the two days. “We still have a lot of work to do,” was the Italian’s summary of the Andalusian test.

The 23-year old only partially agreed, stating the need to find more rear-end grip to aid his cause on corner exit.

“First of all, we have to find a little bit of mechanical grip, and then we have to adjust the electronics,” said Viñales. “Because the electronics right now are quite good, I felt really good with how the traction control is working, about the wheelie we have, and the power delivery.

“But I still think we can improve mechanically, and we are going to make a good jump if we improve on the mechanical grip.”

With a new engine that has the requisite engine braking, Viñales was pleased with how the bike reacts when entering the corner.

“I fixed a lot the entry,” he said. “I felt really good with the bike. For sure we can improve because finally we jumped one bike to another bike. I didn’t touch anything from Valencia. It’s just the same set-up and you can see it’s a totally different track.

“We needed something different but I felt really good from the first day I jumped on the bike, riding in 39s lows. I think that’s race pace. It’s good. I’m positive.”

On whether he feels concerned that his comments did not match up with those of his team-mate, he added, “I don't know what lap time I did last year, but I don't think I was so constant as right now.

“As I said, right now, I can be one or two tenths slower than my best lap, not the time attack lap, but with a full tank. So this is very important.”

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