Four months may have elapsed since Maverick Vinales completed a dominant showing during pre-season testing but the Spaniard was right back at the sharp end as MotoGP hit the track again ahead of the Spanish MotoGP 2020 opener this weekend.

With Yamaha seemingly making a notable step forward over the winter – especially in the ‘top speed’ area it’s often weakest – Vinales headed into the original season touted as the rider most likely to challenge Marc Marquez for honours in 2020.

Though the ensuing break means there is little to read into testing ahead this weekend’s Jerez event, Vinales still made his mark by putting his name on top of the timesheets once again.

“Very happy to be back,” he said. “It’s very nice to ride my M1 again as it’s always very exciting. We have been working hard especially thinking about the race, that was our main goal today. We tried to see how the bike works in these incredibly high temperatures, and we are surprised that our level is so high. So, I’m really looking forward to the weekend as I felt really good on the bike, and that’s very important.

While Vinales and Yamaha’s form fluctuated in 2019, the pairing looked a more reliable pairing by the season’s end, which coupled to such an impressive performance in testing means he is raising the bar for his home race this weekend.

“The bike is in perfect shape, and now we have to get the most out of it. I'm feeling happy and confident for this weekend. Last year's bike was also working well here, but this year I can attack the corners in a different way by braking very hard, which will give me an advantage when I overtake.

“But we need to make another improvement in that area, that will be my main focus this weekend, because this track is not easy.”

 

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