Suzuki MotoGP rookie Maverick Vinales emulated his Top Gun namesake as he took to the skies in an F-18 fighter jet ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix of Aragon.
Vinales arrived at Zaragoza air base on a Superbike, the power of which paled into comparison next to the F-18, which is capable of over 2,100 km/h.
Captain J. Barcala briefed Vinales for over an hour, teaching him the ins and outs of how to cope with the extreme G-forces produced by the fighter jet.
Then it was time to take to the skies. A one-hour flight was filled with acrobatics and combat simulations before a trip over the Aragon MotorLand circuit.
The drive from Zaragoza to Aragon usually takes over an hour and a half, but the F-18 did it under ten minutes.
MotoGP mechanics may used to the roar of 1000cc grand prix machines, but even they found themselves stepping away from set-up to look towards the skies and snap some photos of Vinales in the F-18.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for Vinales and even after years of racing the most advanced motorcycles in the world at breakneck speeds, he had to make use of the sick bags.
Nevertheless, “it was the best experience of my life, nothing can compare to this even when I was World Champion in Moto3," he said. "It's a really unique experience and nothing else compares, it's a once in a lifetime thing. I feel very privileged to have received this wonderful experience.”
Vinales will be back on his GSX-RR when Friday practice gets underway at Aragon.