Maverick Viñales put in a late charge to take control of the second day of testing at Sepang, topping the timing sheets by +0.527s.
The Monster Energy Yamaha rider’s time of 1:58.897 was only +0.067s off the unofficial lap record, set by Jorge Lorenzo during last year’s pre-season test. The 24-year-old had spent the majority of the session in third spot, but as the temperatures dropped, he headed out and became the only rider to dip below the 1’59s-mark.
Speaking about his session, Viñales said:
“Honestly, we tried to work really hard today on the race pace. We were always using the spec for the race. I felt good and around midday we made good lap times especially during the race simulation when it was hot, without grip, so I’m actually really happy how we worked today. We made a good improvement on the bike, so we need to try to do this again tomorrow.”
Alex Rins continued his fine form on the Suzuki to finish second, completing 61 laps and achieving a fastest lap-time of 1:59.424.
Jack Miller and Andrea Dovizioso both made huge improvements on day two to finish in third and fourth respectively, with Cal Crutchlow putting in a strong display to end the day as the top Honda rider in fifth.
Valentino Rossi matched his sixth place from day one. The nine-time champion had been quick in the morning, but was busy working on new parts and settings on his Yamaha M1 in the afternoon.
Tito Rabat’s return from injury continued to go to plan, with the Avintia Racing rider ending the day in seventh, just ahead of reigning champion, Marc Marquez. The Spaniard is still recovering from shoulder surgery and ended the day early after completing 37 laps.
Danilo Petrucci (ninth) and Takaaki Nakagami completed the top 10. Johann Zarco made some ground on the factory KTM machine to take 11th spot, with teammate Pol Espargaro having to settle for 17th.
Francesco Bagnaia was the fastest rookie once again, putting the Pramac Ducati in 12th spot. With regards to the other class rookies, Fabio Quartararo was 14th overall, whilst Miguel Oliveira ended the day in 20th, with Joan Mir just behind him in 21st.
The third and final day of the Sepang pre-season test gets underway tomorrow morning.