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Yamaha has dumped the 2017 chassis

The cat is out of the bag – Yamaha has dumped the 2017 chassis that had proved so erratic for both Rossi and Vinales in the factory Movistar team.

While Vinales won the first two races and again in France and Rossi won in Assen, at low-grip tracks and in hot conditions both had struggled badly with wheelspin and rear adhesion, dropping back in the later laps. At the same time, Johann Zarco and latterly Jonas Folger were getting

They tested the 2018 chassis at Misano tests before the British GP two weeks ago, and gave it a nod of approval. At the British round, Vinales finished a challenging second and said he was now “comfortable” and able to ride as he likes; while Rossi led until there were three laps to go, and was third.

Asked whether they had used the new chassis, Yamaha remained tight-lipped; but at Misano, where the injured Rossi was absent, Vinales owned up. He was now riding the 2018 bike full time, and had raced it in Britain.

He felt “more relaxed”, he said; and had been able to make a long run on used tyres to verify that the new unit is an improvement in terms of rear tyre degradation.

Rossi’s absence was at least a blessing for Vinales – it meant he could have two of the new chassis, rather than having one new and one old, sharing with his team-mate.

By Michael Scott

Vinales, San Marino MotoGP 2017