Viñales lifted by Yamaha's test progress
16 November 2017 – Maverick Viñales expressed encouragement with Yamaha's display during the post-season Valencia test, as it sought to understand its 2017 slump, but admitted he is uncertain which chassis has the most potential.
Viñales dominated pre-season testing in 2017 and claimed three wins from the opening five events, opening a 26-point advantage over the chasing pack.
However, Viñales did not win again and slipped to third in the championship, 68 points behind Marc Márquez, taking only three podiums from the final 12 events.
Viñales finished a lowly 12th at the season-ending Grand Prix at Valencia, but led Tuesday's test running, having evaluated several different chassis/engine combinations, and classified fifth on Wednesday.
"On completely the same bike that I had during the Valencia GP weekend I felt much better, like I've come back to my usual form," said Viñales of his Tuesday pace-setting time.
"I felt like it was my Yamaha again. I was as fast on the 2017 bike as on the 2016 bike. We see positive points with both of them. I feel well on both bikes.
"On the 2016 bike I can brake and enter the corner better, on the 2017 I can exit better.
"I feel the 2017 bike has more potential, if the bike is working like it was [on Tuesday], but if it works like it did in Sunday's race I don't know."
Yamaha's struggles were most acute in low-grip conditions in 2017, and Viñales is hopeful that wet weather will strike during its private test at Sepang later this month, to allow progress to be validated.
"We were working on the engines and trying to understand this side very well, so we would know which direction to take and I'm quite happy," he said.
"In Sepang I will start the private test as I ended the GP there, because I felt quite good in qualifying, so this is a good point of reference.
"I hope for at least one day of rain in Malaysia, that would be perfect for us, to try the bike and the electronics and it would also be good to try the new engines in the wet."