Maverick Vinales is the fashion guy. It was to get off the Suzuki and get into the MotoGP Yamaha in the first preseason test in Valencia, just after the last GP of the season, to evidence a quick adaptation. He went on vacation as the fastest driver and has returned in the same way, dominating the first test of the year in the Circuit of Sepang. In the meantime it will force Marvel to rewrite the comic from the Fantastic Four and be a quintet.
It is worth that Yamaha was already in the Malay race at the end of last year in a private test, but it does not remove that the pilot of Roses has been the fastest in a circuit so different to Ricardo Tormo of the Comunitat Valenciana. ‘Mack’ has made clear his first adaptation to the M1 2016 in Valencia, then in Sepang and finally with the 2017 motorcycle on the same Malaysian track.
Unlike last year’s test at Sepang where Jorge Lorenzo got the best time leaving the second, Danilo Petrucci half a second and being the only one to roll under two minutes, this time everything has been tighter. It was noticed that it is already the second season with the Michelin and the electronic control unit unique. And from there also the merit of the domain of Viñales this time until the eleventh, Johann Zarco was able to roll the 59. After Viñales Iannone finished 84 thousandth, and Marquez was third to 54 thousandths of the Italian … And Lorenzo finished tenth to only 0,399 of ‘Mack’. Because in a circuit where he rolls in two minutes 0.399 is not the same as in a track where you turn at 1.30 as Valencia, where Lorenzo finished 0.7 of Viñales in his first contact with the Ducati.
Viñales has taken over from Lorenzo in Movistar Yamaha with great naturalness and despite his 22 years of age has a maturity contrasted, it will be necessary not to go to war with his teammate. Because for Rossi, as for any rider, your first rival is your boxing partner.
The ‘arrival’ of Viñales will put the price of the podium more expensive than ever. It will be necessary to see if ‘Mack’ is able to move the preseason dominance to the Sundays of Great Prize, because the experience also counts, not only to be a fast pilot, and its rivals are ‘veterans’. While Marquez and Rossi are fixed candidates for the drawer, it will be necessary to see the level of the other two, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
Lorenzo will be a candidate for victory on circuits where both the Ducati and him are going well, as is the case of Qatar, and in others will have to see the adaptation of the Balearic to his new mount. Because one of the main characteristics of Lorenzo’s driving is his speed of turn by curve while the Ducati has always had difficulty turning although it has mitigated with an acceleration of fear in the outputs of the curves and the straight. And Pedrosa is a safe value whenever you manage to get the set-up with which you feel comfortable and can make a good race in terms of tire wear.
In addition will have to be attentive to the ‘guests’ of luxury, Andrea Dovizioso with the Ducati, and Iannone with the Suzuki or Crutchlow with the Honda, to mention aspirants to the podium where this year could be Alvaro Bautista with the Ducati Team Aspar . The upcoming tests from 15 to 17 February in Phillip Island, Australia, may give more clues.