Repsol Honda Team Principal Livio Suppo has said that he and Honda aren’t surprised by the pace and performances of new Yamaha recruit Maverick Viñales, but that they are of his team-mate, Valentino Rossi.
Whilst everybody in the paddock is impressed by the winning start Viñales has made with Yamaha, nobody is overly shocked, including Honda bosses. However, a second place finish in Argentina after the third in Qatar, have left Suppo and had surprised by the pace of Rossi.
Rossi suffered through one of his worst pre-seasons with Yamaha, and whilst nobody was writing the Italian off before the racing began, testing times suggested that it could be a tough season for the veteran Italian.
“Of course I’m not surprised by the results of Maverick,” Suppo told Spanish newspaper AS.
“He has gone fast with Yamaha from the first moment he has climbed into it and I am more surprised by the results of Valentino. In the winter tests he suffered a lot, also in Qatar and Argentina he struggled but then finished on the podium.
“My congratulations to him. I’m more surprised by Valentino Rossi than Maverick.”
Viñales is currently top of the MotoGP World Championship standings with 50 points, 37 ahead of Marc Marquez and 39 ahead of Dani Pedrosa, after just two rounds. When Suppo was asked if he regretting retaining Pedrosa rather than pursuing Viñales, he was very supportive of his own rider as well as praising Viñales, suggesting he wanted an older rider alongside Marquez rather than running two young riders.
“Maverick is a top rider, but I know one with his age. He was known to be a very interesting rider, but we’re very happy with the way we are going,” said Suppo.
Crashes for both Marquez and Pedrosa in Argentina means Viñales points cushion at the top has already got people wondering what Marquez can do in terms of defending his World Championship. However, with Austin up next – a circuit Marquez has never been beaten at – Suppo insists it’s too early to even begin thinking about the World Championship just yet.
“The Championship is very long and for me it’s only just begun,” he said. “It would be a mistake to start thinking about the Championship. We must always think about it race by race and try to give the maximum in each one of them, by giving Marquez and Dani the support they deserve. This is how the results will come.”
Photos via Movistar Yamaha