Vinales "surprised" by Qatar MotoGP test long run pace on old bike

Maverick Vinales says his strong long run pace during the second day of the Qatar MotoGP test came as a surprise to him because he didn’t try Yamaha’s new chassis.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Vinales ended the day 0.455 seconds off the benchmark pace of his Yamaha team-mate Fabio Quartararo in seventh, but was one of only a few riders to try consistent long runs.

The Spaniard's rhythm was strong, with Vinales – who suffered a small Turn 2 crash on Sunday - able to lap in the low 1m55s/high 1m54s bracket on an M1 largely similar to what he raced with in 2020.

Vinales says his work on Sunday focused more on his own riding style and electronic settings, and was enthused by his pace when the track wasn’t at its grippiest – which has been a key weakness for both Vinales and Yamaha in recent years.

“Well, actually we didn’t work yet with the new chassis,” Vinales said when Autosport asked him to explain where his gain came from.

PLUS: How Yamaha's new MotoGP era can unchain Vinales 

“We just had the old package and a few general things in the second bike.

“I concentrated a lot on riding style, I concentrated a lot on hitting good lap times, and trying not to get too stressed on the bike, getting a good flow. And we worked with the electronics quite a lot, so I see many interesting things.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“That’s why I’m positive, because when the grip goes down I see many interesting things on riding style. I’m very pleased with this test and I can’t wait to be back next week on the bike.

“Honestly speaking, I was quite surprised that in the mid-day I could ride '54 and this remains always very positive, because the grip was not that good but I could ride pretty fast.”

Quartararo did try more of Yamaha’s 2021 parts, including the new chassis – which appears closer in spec to his favoured 2019 version – and carbon swingarm.

Quartararo admits it’s still “difficult” to evaluate the 2021 chassis, but confirmed it didn’t feel quite like the 2019 version yet.

“It’s still difficult to evaluate because we don’t stay with the same package as yesterday, we’re still trying many things, also the swingarm,” Quartararo said when asked by Autosport to compare the 2021 and 2020 M1.

“So, it’s not easy to say clear comments about the 2021 chassis. [The] swingarm we still need to see, but the feeling was not the best today.

“But we need to try it better and in all conditions, so for sure in three days we will try it again.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Of course, the feedback is good because we make a great lap time, great pace. So, for sure the bike is great, but we need to see because last year also with the 2020 bike we were fast here.

“These two days [off] will be great to evaluate the data with the team and to see the direction.”

He added: “It’s not yet the same feeling as 2019. I hope it will come, but we are working on it.

“I think it’s really important because the chassis of 2019 bike was just unbelievable. We are on the [right] way, we want to take that direction because it’s clear it was the best compromise.”

Previous article Miller: Ducati ‘chasing its arse’ seeking 2021 MotoGP bike gains
Next article Espargaro: Not knowing limit of Honda MotoGP bike "stressful"