Vinales: Suzuki's new MotoGP gearshift a 'big improvement'

Maverick Vinales hopes he will be able to use Suzuki's fully-seamless MotoGP gearbox from the start of the new season

Vinales: Suzuki's new MotoGP gearshift a 'big improvement'

Having previously sampled an upshift-only version of the transmission, as Suzuki addressed one of its weaknesses from its MotoGP return, Vinales and team-mate Aleix Espargaro tried the new unit during this week's Qatar test.

After topping a day of running at Phillip Island last month, Vinales was fastest again on the second day of Losail's final pre-season test.

With Vinales second and third on the other two days, Suzuki has cemented itself as a potential big mover in 2016, and the fully-seamless gearbox is part of that equation.

"In the last two runs I tested the full seamless for the first time and this is another big improvement," he said.

"I couldn't try a time attack with it but my feeling is that it has a lot of potential, we need to work on it for the finalisation and I hope we can use it in the race.

"We have worked a lot this winter, the Suzuki factory delivered us huge improvements and the results so far are positive.

"We look positively towards the race, where I hope I'll be able to make even further steps forward."

Following the Phillip Island test, Vinales said Suzuki had to "keep our feet on the ground" ahead of its second season back in the premier class.

A fortnight out from the first grand prix of the new campaign in Qatar, he did at least admit the manufacturer had "finished the winter test in a very good position".

"I'm happy because with used tyres I could keep a pace around 1m55.5s, which is a pace that in the race could lead to the podium," Vinales, whose best result in his rookie campaign was sixth, said.

"I am happy about the team, the work we have done, we all improved and also, so has the bike.

"In Qatar it wasn't easy, the straight is long and our engine still has some room for improvement, but this makes me confident for the first race."

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