Despite leading an all-Yamaha top three and setting the best time of the Valencia MotoGP test with the 2020 prototype, Maverick Vinales joined team-mate Valentino Rossi in urging the factory to keep pushing for more engine performance.

The stand-out area of weakness with the current Yamaha, which Vinales took to two victories and third overall in the world championship, is top speed.

The third evolution of the 2020 engine brought to Valencia was another step in the right direction, however:

"For sure we need a little bit more power, a little bit more arrived but it’s not enough, our competitors are still far away so we need to keep working on that area and try not to lose on the others," said Vinales, who edged out the 2019 M1s of Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli by 0.164s and 0.265s respectively.

"Still 8km/h difference, I take many slipstreams trying to understand if it was better or not. In the slipstream I feel much better because the engine keeps [pulling], not like last year, so for that I’m quite happy.

"But still there remains [consistently] lap-by-lap a 5-6km/h [top speed difference], so we need to try to recover that. But the plan for this test was to try to recover the maximum information about the engine so that Yamaha can make another step."

As well as seeking greater top speed, a secondary target is to make the power delivery even smoother, to aid tyre life.

"If I have to be honest it’s very similar," Vinales said of the 2020 engine character. "On the bottom it’s very similar, which is very positive, because this year was really good, we had a lot of traction.

"So It seems very positive, but still we need a little bit more on the top."

And the chassis?

"It works well, still we have difference compared to the other chassis but works in a good way and I’m quite happy.

"Honestly the package we had at the end of the season was one of the best I had in Yamaha, so it will be difficult to be better but we are trying everything."

Vinales and Rossi will now see how the prototype performs at Jerez next week, before the winter break begins.

"The Jere zlayout is totally different, it’s much more round corners so we will see there how strong we are," Vinales said.

The Yamaha riders will then hope for a final engine upgrade to be delivered for the Sepang test in February, after which only the Qatar test will remain.

"We want at least to finish the Malaysian test with one clear bike and keep running with this bike and understanding the way to ride it," Vinales said.

"With more power on the engine, setup has to change a little bit. For me it’s a little bit better if we have more power.

"I spent time behind other bikes trying to understand, but we need a little bit more. I just take the slipstream, trying to see what it is. For sure the new engine helped a lot, sector 1 and 4 helps so much."

 

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