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2019 is an important year for Yamaha and it got off to a great start, with Maverick Viñales (Yamaha Factory Racing) topping the timesheets and teammate Valentino Rossi sitting P3 on Day 1 at the Valencia Test as the Iwata factory get positive feedback on a new engine.
“The main focus was on the engine,” explained Tuesday’s quickest rider, with Viñales setting his 1:31.416 with the new engine to go 0.302 faster than anyone else. The Spaniard continued: “I went a little bit at the beginning of the practice on the old bike. We changed the engine and we felt like we’d suddenly improved on the points we need to. I’m really happy and the direction we followed with Yamaha was the correct one. We felt much better into the corner, it’s where we needed to improve and now trying to understand how to improve the acceleration.”
Positivity from new number 12 rider, but what is the difference between this engine and the 2018 engine? “The difference is especially on the engine braking. The new engine is much better. Without using so much brake, I can stop the bike much better, so it helped me a lot to corner fast without stressing the tyre a lot,” explained Viñales, but there’s still some work to do:
“There is still a lot of work to do on acceleration because the electronics changed a lot on all the track, so we didn’t have enough time to setup the engine braking and acceleration, so I feel we have a really good gap to improve on the acceleration. I did the best lap time on the new engine, I just focused on the new engine because it’s not too smart to focus to much on the engine that gave us a lot of problems, so tomorrow will also be important to do a lot of laps and try to improve the acceleration, which is where we struggled more, but I think it’s only the way to give the power.”
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Rossi also reflected on a positive day, despite it being cut short by the rain: “In the end it was a positive day but we didn’t have a lot of time,” started ‘The Doctor’. “I was able to do 40 laps and the most important work of the day, which was compare the engine and one evolution engine that we tried during the season, and we compared with the standard engine and it’s not too bad because it helped to stress the tyre less, so it’s good work.
“We always suffer with tyre degradation, so we tried to make a smoother engine to try to stress the tyre less. Generally, it’s this. It wasn’t too bad because my lap time was good, and I have good feeling for the first day.”
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The nine-time World Champion agreed with Viñales; the engine has helped the Yamaha under braking, but the acceleration needs some more work: “The engine also changed on the braking, in the entry. It’s a small help because the bike becomes easier to ride and you can be more constant. The acceleration is more or less the same. We’ve tried to have a softer character to spin less and it’s already helping. For me, it’s not enough. We suffer too much with rear tyre degradation but too the conditions were also very bad, so usually the tyre suffers in this condition but it looks like after some laps we slide too much but we’ve taken a good direction.”
Tomorrow, both riders will try another new engine, as the number 46 confirms: “Today we tried one (engine) and tomorrow we’ll try the other one, which is similar but different. Tomorrow, the most important thing is try the second spec. For me, these two tests are not crucial but are important. We have time until next February to choose the engine, but in this test, we can give a good indication to work more in one way, so these are our targets for Valencia and Jerez.”
Can the Yamaha duo continue their good progress on the final day of the Valencia Test on Wednesday? Watch it all live on motogp.com!
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