Maverick Vinales made a dream start to life at Movistar Yamaha by topping the timesheets on day one of 2017 pre-season testing at Valencia. The young Spaniard drew first blood against new teammate Valentino Rossi, edging out the nine-times champion by two hundredths of a second, while Jorge Lorenzo also impressed on his Ducati debut, rounding out the top three.
Very rarely has a day of testing been so eagerly anticipated and Lorenzo was one of the first to break cover, taking the Ducati GP16 out for the first time shortly after 10am local time. The honours in the morning session went to Rossi though after a three lap burst took him into the 1:30s shortly before lunchtime, the Italian leading Suzuki debutant Andrea Iannone.
The sparks started to fly in the afternoon session as Vinales joined his new teammate in the 1:30s, sneaking ahead by 0.020s after a blistering fourth sector. Lorenzo also made huge inroads on the Ducati GP16 to go third on a 1:31.052 before taking the new GP17 machine out for its first shakedown in the closing minutes of the afternoon.
The 2017-spec Repsol Honda got its first taste of track action with Marc Marquez finishing fourth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow while Iannone fell to seventh after a high speed crash at turn ten, a corner that also caught out Rossi, Pol Espargaro and Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda. Scott Redding rose to eighth late in the afternoon ahead of Hector Barbera and Dani Pedrosa.
The rookies had contrasting fortunes with Jonas Folger the fastest of them, pipping Tech 3 teammate Johann Zarco for sixteenth, 1.5 seconds off the pace. Alex Rins made a steady start on the Suzuki, finishing 21st behind the factory KTMs, while Sam Lowes had a crash on his first official test day with Aprilia.
2017 MotoGP Official Pre-Season Test: Valencia (Day One)
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