MARQUEZ v VINALES
Maverick goes on the attack after pair clash,
Tensions are already starting to build between 2017 Motogp championship favourites Maverick Vi– ales and reigning champion Marc Marquez ahead of the start of the season next month. The two men topped the timesheets at the end of the threeday Phillip Island test, but not before the duo clashed on track.
Completing the three days of testing first and second respectively, Vi–ales hit out at his fellow Spaniard on the final day after they came together on track.
During his end-of-day planned race runs, Marquez latched onto the back of the Movistar Yamaha rider, resulting in on-track action that looked more like a race than a test as they traded a series of overly aggressive overtakes.
A genuinely bemused Vi–ales said: “I don’t know what to say. I donõt want to make something when there is nothing, but for sure this is not normal. When youõre doing a race simulation and someone catches up with you, you canõt do anything, and finally I had to abort it. The track is 4.4km long and it was very strange that he started where I was!”
Vi–ales may only be 22 and relatively new to the Motogp class, but he took Marquez’s on-track antics as a challenge Ð one that could backfire on Marquez if the Yamaha man uses the odd antics as extra motivation to win. Something he showed by posting consecutive 1m 28s laps in the dying minutes of the test.
After going even faster than when he was being tailed by Marquez, Vi–ales said: “I’M not sure if he’s trying to get inside my head, but afterwards I put new tyres into the bike and said “ok, now for sure I push at 100%!” and I ended up with a nice rhythm. It’s nice, because it’s good motivation, this fighting.
“I thought Marquez would make a time attack at the end Ð maybe he did! He’s fast for sure, but so are we, and it’s always nice to have someone else fast to help us improve. I hope that’s the way the championship goes, with me there, though! For sure he’s really fast and his braking points are amazing. In that area we have to improve a bit.”
However, incidents aside it was another incredibly impressive test for Vi–ales as he maintains his record of finishing all four tests he’s completed so far for Yamaha at the top of the time sheets. Finishing well clear of the rest of the field not only on overall lap times, his longer runs were also impressive, as he completed a series of back-toback race simulations at potentially race winning pace.
“I feel always confident, because we can see that the speed is there. We need to still work in some areas to be at 100% for the first race, but I feel great on the bike and with the team.
“IF the championship were to start tomorrow, we would be ready. The bike is quite ready although we have to improve a little bit on braking points and electronics. I need to improve a little bit too, and become better for the bike, more smooth. I’M still a little too aggressive and I move the bike a little too much.”
Is Marc playing mind games or sizing up his rival?