All eyes will be on the start for the Yamaha riders of the factory team with Maverick Vinales who today tried numerous times the Yamaha device, which only works on the rear of the bike and which was actually already present on the M1s last season.
“The Ducatis seem to start even better than last season - said Vinales - For me this is a fundamental area in which to make improvements because in 2020 I was always very consistent in the final part of the race, at the same level if not better than the leaders, the problem is that I was having to make up positions all the time. Making progress at the start is very important and I will continue to put time and effort into it”.
Both Maverick and his new teammate Fabio Quartararo agree that improving the start would be crucial for Yamaha, given the negative experiences of the past seasons. “Even if we start the best we can - said Quartararo - we are not at the level of the others”.
However, different views are held by the two official Yamaha riders about how to achieve the goals in this particular area. According to Quartararo "it is a problem that can be solved very quickly by Yamaha" while for Maverick Vinales, who last season raised his voice the most on this matter, things are different.
“I don't think it will be easy to improve the way we want - he said - I don't know if we will reach a good level during the weekend but it is certainly the key point of this weekend for me. Today we made some small steps forward but I will have to keep working and if I start in Sunday's race and don't have to make up too many positions, I'll be happy ”.
Apart from the matter of the start, the day was positive for both Yamaha riders with Fabio Quartararo finishing in third place (+0.188) behind the Ducati of Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia.
"It went quite well today but if I have to compare with the tests I have lost a lot, especially against the Ducatis from which we are losing 2 tenths and a half in the fourth sector. We are slower than them and the top speed is not our strength but continuing to repeat it will make the problem bigger while what I have to do in the race is to try to keep everyone stuck on the straight (laughs) to put myself in the best possible condition to take the first corner ".
The lack of good top speed, especially against the Ducatis, was obviously the subject of discussion for Maverick Vinales who has been trying, like Quartararo, to find a solution.
"Yes, here in Qatar there is a very long straight but in the third sector, where in Yamaha we are very fast, there are some good overtaking points. Compared to the tests I must say that I have made some good steps forward, and today's position and time confirm this - Vinales finished in sixth place two tenths and a half behind Jack Miller - The balance of the bike is not the maximumbest because the grip has changed from two weeks ago but we are working on it and I am confident of being able to do a very good qualifying tomorrow ”.