Maverick Vinales remained a step ahead of Marc Marquez as he finished the final day of the Phillip Island pre-season test on top. The Movistar Yamaha rider edged closer to lap record pace as he outpaced the reigning champion by three tenths of a second, ensuring he has now topped the timesheets at the end of all three winter tests so far.
Most of the qualifying-style runs took place during a frantic morning session as many turned their attentions to race simulations later in the day and Vinales lit up the timing screens with a succession of 1:28s in the first hour, culminating in a 1:28.549. At one stage, that left him eight tenths clear of the opposition but Marquez narrowed the gap on one his shorter bursts, clocking a 1:28.843.
No other rider could match the pace of the Spanish duo up front but no fewer than seventeen riders lapped in the 1:29s, emphasising how competitive the field looks in 2017. Dani Pedrosa heads the chasing pack in third ahead of the sensational Jonas Folger who finished fourth fastest despite a crash during the afternoon. Cal Crutchlow was fifth while Suzuki’s Alex Rins rounded out the top six despite a crash of his own, completing a fine day for the rookies.
The factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo were next up in seventh and eighth with the Spaniard lapping much more consistently in the 1:29s. Jack Miller remained a fixture in the top ten after another strong showing while Aleix Espargaro confirmed Aprilia’s apparent upturn with tenth spot on a 1:29.361.
2017 MotoGP Official Pre-Season Test: Phillip Island (Day Three)
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