New Movistar Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales has shown sizzling pace, much to the delight of Yamaha boss Massimo Meregalli.
The 22-year-old recent topped the timesheets in two out of three testing days held at Phillip Island in Australia, edging two-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez. It was the second such testing weekend the Spaniard had dominated, after being fastest in Sepang earlier in February.
While teammate Valentino Rossi has been a touch off the pace, the nine-time world champion's racing pedigree on Sundays cannot be denied. This, combined with a lightning fast Vinales means the 2017 season is shaping up nicely for Yamaha.
"First of all Maverick has been really fast," Meregalli told crash.net.
"For us, it was really important to see how he could manage the race simulation. Last year we suffer a lot [with] the degradation of the rear tyre. This year he always felt that for him the tyre life was not so bad.
"Anyway, until one hour ago the result was not there. He did two simulations with a good pace. He did 20 laps. Basically, the drop was almost nothing.
"During the second one, he was also tired. He could keep a faster pace but he said that at the end, after maybe 17 laps, he had a drop himself. Anyway, this is really good information, [and] a sign."
Qatar hosts the final round of testing from March 10-12.