MotoGP champion Marquez made Vinales cancel race simulation in test
|By Oriol Puigdemont and Andrew van Leeuwen||Friday, February 17th 2017, 12:21 GMT|
Maverick Vinales says he abandoned a race run during the final day of MotoGP's Phillip Island test because he was being followed by Marc Marquez.
The Yamaha recruit continued his strong winter by topping the timesheets on Friday, finishing 0.294 seconds clear of Marquez.
But Vinales had his programme interrupted when he cut a race simulation short after five laps, having been told by his team that he had Marquez following him.
Speaking to media afterwards, the Spaniard was in a combative mood, saying he "didn't understand" why Marquez felt the need to follow him.
"[The team] were telling me I had him behind me and I didn't want to stop," he said.
"The next day I do a long run it will be my turn to bother him.
"I really didn't understand it, because you are doing your job, your long run, and then being unable to push... I'm not going to carry him.
"It's hard to keep on pushing when you have him behind and you know he can study what you do.
"So I had to abort the long run, which was a shame because I was doing mid-1m29s all the time.
"I think he did a great job too this weekend. It appears that we are both a step ahead of the rest and it will be fun."
Vinales ended the Phillip Island test nearly a second up on Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, and said he was satisfied with both his short and long-run pace, despite the run-in with Marquez.
"Even though I was tired in the second run, I kept running in the 1m29s for over half the race [distance]," he said.
"I'm close to Marc [over a long run], and on a single lap I did several mid-1m28s, so I'm happy."
Marquez and Honda have spent pre-season testing trying to tame the Japanese manufacturer's new engine, with the world champion feeling a breakthrough was made on Friday.
He talked down the time spent riding behind Vinales, and the prospect of a fight between the pair for the championship.
"Today was one run that I went out and saw that he passed and then was some laps," Marquez said.
"Immediately I was able to recover this gap and then I followed him two laps and it was interesting, always, to see different bikes.
"Also I saw some Ducatis and some bikes you feel are strong. Also Suzuki was interesting to follow because it looks really good.
"Yamaha, like last year, they have a really competitive bike, all package is really good.
"It will be tough to beat them."