Marc Marquez: Maverick Vinales a step ahead of everyone in Qatar

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez believes Qatar Grand Prix practice pacesetter Maverick Vinales "is one step in front of everybody" in the season opener

Marc Marquez: Maverick Vinales a step ahead of everyone in Qatar

Yamaha's new recruit has maintained his imposing testing form - when he topped all four official winter sessions - into the first round of the 2017 season at the Losail circuit.

Vinales has been fastest in two of the three sessions, sitting 0.532 seconds clear of the pack on combined times from the first two days.

Marquez is third in the overall order, as he continues to work with Honda's revamped engine, but believes even staying with Vinales in Sunday's race would be a challenge, such is his advantage.

"If I can get away with him it will already be a good result," Marquez said.

"We have some things to improve, and we will see what are the conditions, but at the moment, honestly, it looks like Maverick is one step in front of everybody.

"But we must find the way to finish on the podium."

Suzuki's Andrea Iannone, who is second in the combined order after a late effort on Friday evening, echoed Marquez's sentiments, saying Vinales was "another story".

Vinales's Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi scraped into the last of the guaranteed Q2 positions with 10th overall, 1.098s off the ultimate pace.

Rossi lost time during third practice on Friday evening with a sensor issue that required a change of rear suspension, but admitted his pace was "nothing fantastic" so far.

"It looks like Vinales is faster," he said.

"The other riders are similar, so if we are able to find the right way to be more comfortable on [corner] entry, and to have a better pace and more constant, we are not too far."

VINALES SHAKES OFF FRIDAY CRASH

A fall early in Friday's opening session was just Vinales's second crash on an M1, following one in a private test at Sepang last November.

It came just after he passed Rossi on track, having reeled him in over the course of his first run, when he overshot Turn 4 and ran "totally off line".

"I braked late, said 'OK, go to the corner anyway' and I went and it wasn't possible," Vinales said.

"I was on much more angle and outside of the line. It was completely my mistake.

"When I crashed, I said, 'you knew you were going to crash and you did that'."

shares
comments
Qatar MotoGP: Vinales leads practice again, Lorenzo consigned to Q1

Previous article

Qatar MotoGP: Vinales leads practice again, Lorenzo consigned to Q1

Next article

Jorge Lorenzo believes Qatar MotoGP front row possible from Q1

Jorge Lorenzo believes Qatar MotoGP front row possible from Q1
Load comments
Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha on his road to the MotoGP title Plus

Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha on his road to the MotoGP title

Fabio Quartararo has his first match point in the 2021 MotoGP title race this weekend at Misano. While the 2021 Yamaha is a much-improved bike to its inconsistent predecessor, its the rider himself who has shown the biggest evolution this season. Oriol Puigdemont delves into Quartararo's growth.

How KTM has wrestled control of young MotoGP talent from Honda Plus

How KTM has wrestled control of young MotoGP talent from Honda

There once was a time when Honda controlled any young rider who emerged in motorcycling, but its market dominance has now swung to the side of MotoGP rival KTM and, to a lesser extent Ducati. Could this development have significant ramifications for the future?

MotoGP
Oct 12, 2021
Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Plus

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
The Marquez self-preservation that fulfilled a COTA MotoGP “dream” Plus

The Marquez self-preservation that fulfilled a COTA MotoGP “dream”

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Plus

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Plus

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
How ‘El Diablo’ and ‘the Beast’ starred in MotoGP’s Misano contest Plus

How ‘El Diablo’ and ‘the Beast’ starred in MotoGP’s Misano contest

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino Grand Prix will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP’s present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia’s flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Plus

How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021