Vinales On Top as 2018 Testing Starts in Valencia

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Maverick Vinales - Photo Credit: Movistar Yamaha

Maverick Vinales set the fastest time at Valencia on Tuesday as Yamaha set about the task of recovering from their disastrous finish to 2017. Vinales dominated pre-season testing last season, as well as the first half of 2017, before fading badly as Yamaha failed to adapt to the new Michelin front tyre, amongst other issues, but the Spaniard looked much more like his old self today.

Yamaha had an experimental day but it started in concerning fashion as Valentino Rossi suffered a high speed crash at turn ten, destroying one of the three YZR-M1s he had at his disposal. The team had a 2016, 2017 and 2018 chassis available for its riders and Vinales would take the oldest of the three to the fastest time overall, clocking a 1:30.189 during the afternoon to edge out Tech 3’s Johann Zarco who ran the 2017 machine for the first time.

World champion Marc Marquez led for much of the morning before the time attacks of Vinales and Zarco relegated him to third. Rossi recovered from his early mishap to take fourth, also on the 2016 Yamaha, while Jack Miller produced the performance of the day to finish fifth on his very first outing with Pramac Ducati aboard their GP17.

Aleix Espargaro was sixth for Aprilia ahead of factory Ducati duo Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo while Pol Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow completed the top ten. Crutchlow’s new LCR Honda team-mate Takaaki Nakagami was the quickest of the rookies on day one, narrowly beating Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli with Avintia’s Xavier Simeon the slowest rider to set a time after mirroring Rossi’s accident at turn ten.

Neither Suzuki rider would run on Tuesday with both Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins feeling unwell. The team will hope to see their riders back in action for the final day on Wednesday.


2018 MotoGP Pre-Season Testing: Valencia (Day One)

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