Viñales describes 'big step' with Yamaha
16 February 2017 – Maverick Viñales has described a "big step" forward with the handling of his Yamaha YZR-M1 after setting the pace on the second day of MotoGP's pre-season test at Phillip Island.
Viñales quickly settled into a rhythm during Thursday's running at the Australian Grand Prix venue, reeling off a string of 1m29s lap times, before pulling clear of the pack on a 1:28.847.
He ended the day almost half a second up on Honda's Marc Márquez.
"Today we focused a lot on the race pace and honestly we did a great job, we made a big step compared to yesterday," said Viñales, who topped the times at the first test at Sepang.
"I'm feeling more comfortable on the track and I'm getting more grip from the tyres.
"I think we did a good job today, but we still have some work to do. We need to choose which chassis we like and decide on a few other things. We still have a lot of laps ahead of us.
"For sure, I was trying to go faster at the end of the session today, but in sectors three and four there was a lot of wind so I couldn't beat the lap time I set this morning, but I'm happy anyway.
"Like I said, we've made a big step and we'll try to make another step tomorrow."
Valentino Rossi, celebrating his 38th birthday, finished down in eighth, the best part of a second slower than team-mate Viñales, and felt that he took the "wrong direction" overnight.
"This afternoon we had some important tests to do, try a long run and modify something on the bike, but unfortunately it didn't work well and I wasn't fast enough," he said.
"It looks like we followed the wrong direction [with the bike's set-up], so we'll go back to the box to try to understand better for tomorrow and we hope that we can improve.
"Being in Phillip Island with the good weather and riding the M1 all day is always difficult, as it's hard work, but it's also a great pleasure, so I think this is a good birthday gift."