Maverick Viñales believes Yamaha has “recovered” some of its “DNA” that carried the factory to unprecedented success in the Bridgestone era of MotoGP after a largely positive day of testing at the Circuit of Barcelona.

The Catalan topped the timesheets thanks to a late lap of 1m 38.967s after a day spent working on speed with a full tank of fuel, a well-documented weakness for some time that Sunday’s race suggested had finally been addressed.

Viñales was cautious to be overly optimistic, admitting the track “grip was excellent” on Monday compared to Sunday. But speed was there, as was rhythm. “We are pretty happy about that,” he said.

“As soon as the green light went on this morning, I went out,” began Viñales, a frustrated victim of Jorge Lorenzo’s mistake in Sunday’s race.

“We had many things to try, many things to improve. Today the most important was race conditions, so we tried as always to simulate the race and the rhythm was much better than during the weekend, so we are pretty happy about that.

“We were testing something different to try to be better, and it seems that I got much more feeling with the front tyre, that I was sometimes a little bit not 100% confident in, in the front.

“It gave me some confidence and I could push even if the grip was very low. So I think we worked in a good way, made many laps. For me it was good to make a time attack at the end, because I felt I was able to do it with the energy I had left.

“So finally I think it's difficult to say we made a step forward, because you never know with the grip, because maybe the grip was excellent. But in terms of rhythm, in terms of our opponents we were pretty close, so it means that we made another step.

“I tried to create that first laps of the race, that for me is the most important. To stop the bike, to understand if we are going in the correct way. But today I felt good. I was a little bit tired from yesterday, from the emotions and everything, but anyway I made up to make a good lap time, and to finish the day in a good way.”

Did he have the chance to assess his package against others while on track? “Here, like in the race, I got the chance, and our bike was pretty strong here,” he said.

“Not on the main straight, we know, but on the turning side it was very, very strong. From Yamaha, we recovered a little bit the DNA of the Yamaha, that is turning a little bit more.

“So let's see, I'm quite curious to see in Assen, for sure the grip there is not so bad, better than here for sure. So let's see. I'm happy, my feelings are that we made a step forward.

“But you never know, because you don't know the grip conditions or whatever. I'm just looking at the lap times from my closest opponents and we were very close.”

Viñales and team-mate Valentino Rossi had a new exhaust to try as well as a host of electronics settings and new Michelin rear tyres.

Asked for his thoughts on the new exhaust, and whether it addressed the top speed issues that have hampered the M1 riders this year, he added, “Not really, because when we tried it, we tried all the whole pack, electronics, we tried many things, so you don't understand.

“But we tried to make the bike even smoother on the bottom, which is what we need to be fast on the race, and we created good traction, but still we have to improve, because we need laps still.”

 

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