Maverick Vinales believes the Thailand MotoGP circuit characteristics are aiding Yamaha’s weaknesses in top speed but concedes it remains a point where he will struggle against rival manufacturers.

On average all Yamaha riders were close to 6km/h slower than leading rider Jack Miller on the Pramac Ducati in the speed traps during Friday practice at the Chang International Circuit but it didn’t stop the Iwata factory dominating by taking four of the top five places on the overall timesheet.

With Vinales slotting into second place in FP2 after leading the morning session, 0.193s behind leader Fabio Quartararo, the Spanish rider explained the track layout helps fight against Yamaha’s lack of top speed with the high-speed Turn 1 leading on to the longest straight on the circuit.

“I think this corner it is a little bit less because the corner is not from zero [speed],” Vinales said. “You already have the speed so we have good traction so we gain a little bit on traction but then we lose in fourth, fifth and sixth gear.

“The problem at Aragon was from zero, under acceleration, so it was more critical on the top speed. We don’t lose so much, not like in Aragon, so this is very positive. On the slipstream it is okay. I cannot overtake but I can keep the wheel in front.”

With the timesheet sector times duly reflecting where each manufacturer is strongest around the Buriram circuit, as the top four riders in Sector 1 where either Honda or Ducati-powered before Yamaha riders claw back the deficit for the rest of the lap, Vinales is confident of a strong showing after a productive Friday practice.

“You can see on the paper there are two big straights but it seems to work good, the bike, and I think we worked in a good way today,” he said. “For sure the result we can improve but for Friday the job has been done.

“We tried tyres, we tried race pace and we will see tomorrow the way to go but we are actually quite happy and pleased about the performance of today.”

Vinales also experimented with Yamaha’s new parts – the Suzuki-style double exhaust, carbon swingarm and front wheel cover – but feels he hasn’t extracted the full potential with the updates yet to be certain to race with them in Thailand.

“I tried for a few laps but still not enough so I concentrated on my standard bike because in Aragon I needed more laps to understand the potential so here we didn’t lose a lot of time,” he said. “I tried the new parts I have the data and now we will see tomorrow what we will use.”

 

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