Motorcycling - Vinales lays down Qatar marker as Rossi struggles

AFP
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Spanish rider Maverick Vinales takes a corner during the last day of 2017 MotoGP pre-season test at the Sepang International Circuit on February 1, 2017. (AFP Photo/MOHD RASFAN)

Motorcycling - Vinales lays down Qatar marker as Rossi struggles

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Spanish rider Maverick Vinales takes a corner during the last day of 2017 MotoGP pre-season test at the Sepang International Circuit on February 1, 2017. (AFP Photo/MOHD RASFAN)

- Maverick Vinales defied dust and desert winds to set the fastest practice time for the season-opening Qatar MotoGP, overshadowing nine-time world champion and Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi, who struggled in ninth place. Vinales, the 22-year-old Spaniard who switched from Suzuki for the 2017 world championship, was almost one and a half seconds clear of 38-year-old Rossi. "The track was a little bit dirty and windy on the first couple of laps, but then the wind calmed down so we had more power on the bike and that helped a lot," said Vinales. Rossi, a four-time winner in Qatar, admitted his Yamaha was struggling to match the pace of Vinales, who was only two years old when the great Italian won his first world title on a 125cc machine in 1997.


AFP

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