Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi returned to their new M1 Yamaha for the first time in today’s highly anticipated Sepang test.
What started out as typical sweltering heat in Malaysia, both riders wasted no getting onto track to test out new parts for the 2020 season.
Having presented their new machine at the track just a day prior, the team produced six bikes overall, three for each rider to try out.
Vinales has been hugely motivated to get back onbaord his Yamaha ahead of a season many expect him to put a consistent championship challenge forward.
The Spanish rider finished the day in sixth place with a lap time of 1:59.367s, which was 0.422s off Fabio Quartararo’s top time.
Vinales was more happy than anything else to finally be back on track: “We are working very hard. Honestly, it’s difficult to draw a conclusion already, because it’s only the first day.
The feeling has been great, a 1’59s lap here is always really good for me. I had the feeling I expected on the bike. We need to keep going so we can try to understand many things, because we have a lot of things to test, especially tomorrow.
On the third day I will concentrate a bit more on myself. On the second day I will be trying many parts, so it will be difficult to get a clear conclusion again.“
For teammate Valentino Rossi, he described it as a ‘difficult day’ as the team had to cut short their programme, but with two more days of action the Italian should be able to gather the necessary information.
Rossi was pleased to get back on the M1 and work on the chassis for the upcoming season: “It was a difficult day, especially because of the conditions. It rained, so we didn’t finish our programme, but anyway we were able to do a little less than 50 laps.
My time over one lap and my position aren’t fantastic, but we worked well. We have the M1 2020, which is different, so we need to get to know it better.
The first feeling is positive, but we have to work because some things are better, and some are worse. But I’m happy about the first day. You always work on the chassis, the engine, and the electronics.”
Following the theme of getting the feeling the riders want heading into the first round next month, team director Massimo Meregalli spoke about the importance of achieving this.
“The riders spent the first two runs focused on getting back their feeling after more than two months of no riding.
We have brought six bikes to this test to evaluate the improvements made between the end of 2019 and the start of 2020 testing.
Tomorrow we will also test other new items that have already been tried by the testing team these last few days.”
The riders will take to the Sepang International Circuit for day two tomorrow, with the hope of continuing to develop this year’s bike. The weather could once again play a key role and will be worth monitoring.