The Yamaha puzzle gets more complicated as the days go by, with things becoming even more tricky if we look at the standings after day one of testing at Valencia. Leading the way is Vinales, who was the slowest in the race, with the 2016 bike, followed by Zarco, with the 2017 bike, with Rossi bringing up the rear in fourth place, using last year's frame.
Speaking to the riders, things are no clearer: Valentino prefers the 2016 bike, Johann the 2017 while for Maverick they're the same.
“My times are similar with the two different frames, but corner entry is better with with last year's and corner exit improves with this year's” the exact opposite of what Zarco says.
What's the answer?
“I don't really understand what's happening. Today I used the exact same bike that I rode on Sunday, we hadn't even cleaned it -he jokes - I started with times in the low 1’31s and continued like that, even with used tyres. The weekend was a disaster while today was fun. During the race, I was crying every time I left the garage while today I'm smiling”.
This appears to be good new, but in fact Vinales is only left more confused.
“In fact - he admits - I am the same rider, the bike is the same but today there is a one and a half second difference compared to the weekend's lap times. The engineers need to carefully analyse the data to understand what's changed, but I'm more relaxed because I'm able to be fast again”.
As is Zarco, with both frames in his case.
“Me too today - he replies-Johann is riding the M1 at a good level and is an importance reference for us. If he's lapped that fast with the 2017 frame it means we have no excuses, and that we need to work”.
Valentino has said that the 2018 bike should be based on the 2016 M1. And Maverick?
“I wouldn't know, I set my best time with the old frame but I think the 2017 one has greater potential”.
The two factory riders do agree on one thing - the new winged fairing.
“I liked it - confirms Vinales - I want to test it again at Sepang during the private tests to confirm my sensations. There seems to be an improvement in the braking phase”.