Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales shot to the top of the Phillip Island MotoGP test timesheets today with a single lap that outpaced yesterday’s quickest man and reigning world champion Marc Marquez by almost half a second and slashing a second off his best time.
Vinales’ 21st lap of 80 was a 1’28.847 and although it is some way off the lap record, the Spaniard was the only man under the 1’29s barrier. Crucially, he was under it five times over the course of the day but Repsol Honda’s Marquez was again fast on used tyres, putting in two longer runs of 12 laps each in the 1’29s before the bell went with a best of 1’29.309.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow was also on similar pace with a best of 1’29.325 for his best lap to claim third place. Although the LCR Honda man didn’t complete a long run, he was more than comfortable in the 1’29s and said yesterday he knows how to go fast at the Australian track.
Alvaro Bautista upped his game considerably from yesterday, setting a 1’29.411 to take fourth place on the Ducati GP16 while Andrea Dovizioso - on the factory GP17 - was only 0.072s behind and six-tenths off the overall pace. Aleix Espargaro played a blinder on an Aprilia with a brand-new fairing, setting a 1’29.501 will please rookie team-mate Sam Lowes - 21st on a 1’30.895 - no end.
Fellow rookie Jonas Folger finished at the other end of the timesheet in seventh place, putting his satellite Monster Yamaha ahead of Valentino Rossi’s works version. The Doctor seems to have hit a brick wall in terms of laptime, setting an almost identical time to the one he achieved yesterday - 1’29.683 v 1’29.674. Rossi also looks more comfortable lapping in the 1’30s.
Alex Rins was the best of the Ecstar Suzuki duo in ninth with hometown hero Jack Miller slashing his laptime to a 1’29.838 to finish in tenth place. Johann Zarco was 11th, one ahead of Andrea Iannone who, like Rossi, is stuck on his best of a 1’29.9.
Karel Abraham is in 13th place with Danilo Petrucci 14th and Jorge Lorenzo 15th. The former champion found half a second today and finished one place ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who is ill. Hector Barbera is 17th with Scott Redding still struggling in 18th. The Octo Pramac man is struggling for confidence with the rear of his GP16 but still dumped more than a second off his best.
Lowes has managed to cut his laptime from 1’32.307 to 1’30.895 to be 21st and now only two seconds off the pace while Bradley Smith is a second slower than his team-mate Pol Espargaro on a 1’31.704.