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New Yamaha MotoGP bike “ready” to race – Vinales

Maverick Vinales believes the 2021 Yamaha MotoGP bike is “ready” to race after topping the penultimate day of pre-season testing in Qatar.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Vinales continued evaluating the 2021 chassis on Thursday, riding three different specs of Yamaha on his way to the top of the timesheets with a 1m53.244s.

The eight-time race winner spent the first test focusing on his own riding style and was “surprised” at how good his long run pace was on the 2020 bike.

And again on Thursday, Vinales displayed some of the strongest pace with a series of mid-1m54s laps having worked a lot on ‘riding without grip’ – which is a scenario the Yamaha has typically been weak in over the past few years.

He admits the fact the Qatar track is saturated in MotoGP rubber makes it hard to definitively know if the 2021 Yamaha has improved in low grip conditions, but was encouraged by his lap times remaining quick when using a rear tyre nearing the end of its life.

“We concentrated a lot to ride without grip, which is always difficult because the track has amazing grip,” Vinales said on Thursday.

“The grip level of the track is incredible, so it’s very difficult to say we are ready for a no-grip situation because, as you can see, all the lap times are super-fast.

“But anyway, I feel good with the bike, which is the most important thing, and also the last laps of the tyre is always good.

“So, we will see. For sure, in the race it will be different, but we keep positive because we think the bike is ready.”

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Teammate Fabio Quartararo completed the top three on Thursday having felt “more comfortable” on the 2021 chassis despite trying things “I didn’t really like” on his M1.

But just as he expressed concern about Yamaha’s overtaking potential in Qatar on Wednesday, Quartararo still expects the M1 to struggle when it gets to lower grip circuits after the Losail double-header at the start of the season.

“Honestly, I was trying many things that I didn’t really like, but actually the pace looks good,” he said on Thursday when asked by Motorsport.com about his feeling on the 2021 chassis.

“Even when we tried something that was not working with multiple tyres, we make a high 1m54s.

“So, honestly I was not so happy about today, but looking at the pace I think we can be happy and every time I feel more comfortable with the 2021 chassis.”

When asked how he thought the bike would behave at the Qatar races and at other circuits, he added: “I think that will be different for sure, because also right now the condition of the track is totally different from the conditions we will have for the race because the grip we have is unreal.

“Honestly, the rubber we have on track I think is not the real grip we will have for the race.

“I think [regarding] my comments, the bike feels really, really good because the track has a lot of grip.

“So, I think we will struggle in Portimao… tracks where there is low grip I think we will struggle.

“It’s not usual we see three Yamahas on top. On the test we know we are always fast, in one lap we are fast.

“But in the last two years I’ve been too confident in the tests. Now I think it’s important to be not so happy before the races.”

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