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MotoGP, Heading toward Phillip Island: open season on Viñales

Wednesday the three days of tests in Australia begin. Maverick and Yamaha are the favourites, but the competition is not far behind

MotoGP: Heading toward Phillip Island: open season on Viñales

Now, where were we? With Viñales who had blown by everyone, using the stopwatch as the Yamaha saw fit, with Iannone who had demonstrated that the Suzuki is not exactly slow, with Marquez who is right where he is supposed to be when the time is right, with Dovizioso nipping at their heels on his Ducati, with Rossi who did not seem to be shining particularly brightly but then he was only 2 tenths from the best and with Lorenzo who is taking a condensed make-up course on the Red.

At the bottom of the page you can see the translation in times, the first litmus test of the year provided by the Sepang tests. They are results that await confirmation, or an upset, from the three days of tests that will begin on Wednesday at Phillip Island.

A track different from the Malaysian one but which, on paper, could favour those who were fast at Sepang. Recent history teaches us this because last year - in tests which we must remember were compromised by foul weather - the fastest rider was Maverick on his Suzuki, followed by Marquez on his Honda and Crutchlow.

From what we have seen thus far, Yamaha seems to be the bike in the best shape and the Spaniard has rightly taken advantage of it. However, the competition is breathing down his neck, because Suzuki also got off on the right foot and Ducati showed that it is fast. Honda is doing important tests on the engine and the two factory riders, along with Crutchlow, are deciding whether the regular or irregular combustion engine is better. And then Aprilia is working hard to raise its bar, while KTM is logically entirely new and just at the beginning of its development.

Phillip Island will be an excellent test bench to see how the balances can be modified, partly because the gaps in Malaysia were minimal: 10 riders within 4 tenths, 16 within one second. These are very small numbers if you consider that a year ago the riders left Sepang with very different gaps: Lorenzo had given Petrucci half a second and there were only 4 riders within one second.

The 2017 season began in an entirely different way and we can expect sparks, with the novelty of Viñales playing the part of a hare intent on escaping a platoon of hunters who are armed to the teeth.

However, we must keep an eye not only on the clock, but also on the garages. Yamaha was the first to show their hand in Malaysia with a double fairing that conceals wings. Ducati responded with a Mystery Box in the tail fairing, the likes of which has never before been seen, not even on Master Chef.

It is highly likely that in Australia the other manufacturers will test new aerodynamic solutions, including Aprilia, who has been spending a lot of time in the wind tunnel, and Iannone was also in Japan with Suzuki for the same reasons.

The engineers are working hard and we have every reason to expect some new MotoGP coverings that are sure to spark debate.

Here at GPOne, we will be in the field as always to provide complete coverage of the tests. You will be able to find all the updates on our site and on our Facebook page.


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