Maverick Vinales was in South Africa this week to check out the brand new Kyalami International Race Track.
The new circuit was hosting the Yamaha R World Event, with local National Superbike and Supersport Yamaha riders joining Vinales on the track. They were also joined by 10 lucky Yamaha customers, who were allowed to join in on the action, riding YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 bikes.
Vinales started proceedings with a private test session, followed by a six-lap session with his fellow riders. Speaking about his time at the new circuit, Vinales said:
“The R World Riding Experience was so good! I really liked riding the bike and I’ve been enjoying my stay in South Africa and riding at the Kyalami International Race Track a lot. The people that I met here were great and we had a lot of fun. A lot of fans came here, I’m really happy and I appreciate the fans’ and also the staff’s support.
“I’m just really glad to be here and I for sure would like to come back. The track is really nice, it’s like an old-school style track and I’ve been enjoying riding the YZF-R1.”
The morning session was followed by lunch and a press conference, where Vinales handed out autographs and hampers containing Yamaha goodies.
The original Kyalami circuit was opened in 1961 and hosted the South African F1 Grand Prix between 1967 and 1985. The circuit layout was changed in 1988 and then again in 1991. The circuit also hosted the World Superbike Championship and A1GP until 2010.
The track began to lose its international status at the end of that year and was eventually sold at auction in 2014 to motor business entrepreneur and former race driver, Toby Venter.
An extensive redevelopment plan was put into place to give the circuit its biggest upgrade since it opened. Alterations include a complete resurfacing of the circuit to international specifications, changes to the circuit layout and an upgrade of the circuit’s safety.
Vinales will now take time out over the festive period before returning to MotoGP duties at the Sepang test in Janaury.