Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON MCN MO­TOGP REPORTER

Make no mis­take – Mav­er­ick Viñales goes into the 2017 sea­son not only a ti­tle con­tender, but as one of the favourites.

Fast in test­ing and gelling quicker than any­one ex­pected with the Yamaha, he’s al­ready shown that he has both the skill and the in­tel­li­gence to come out on top.

He’s also shown in­cred­i­ble con­sis­tency for a rider so young and rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced in the class. And it is this con­sis­tency that could be the key to his suc­cess, just ask Marc Mar­quez who was crowned cham­pion in 2016 due to his re­sults week in, week out.

Viñales’ ti­tle bid will also be helped by the fact that his 2017 rivals are al­ready on the back foot. Reign­ing champ Mar­quez ap­pears still to be mired in de­vel­op­ment is­sues on his Honda (see page 66) Jorge Lorenzo has al­ready ad­mit­ted that ti­tle suc­cess is un­likely on his first year on a Du­cati.

Ar­guably his big­gest ri­val could be his own team-mate Valentino Rossi, who isn’t get­ting any younger. It’s now be­com­ing a pos­si­bil­ity that we could well see a new king crowned in Novem­ber at the Va­len­cia GP.

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