Maverick Viñales believes the current uncertainty surrounding his future is not having a negative impact on his preparations for the third MotoGP race of 2016 in Texas, as his past has shown that he can raise his level when under pressure.
As speculation builds regarding Jorge Lorenzo's plans to move to Ducati, Viñales has widely been tipped to take the reigning world champion's seat in the Movistar Yamaha garage.
Yet rather than distract the 21-year old, Viñales stated “it's always good when I have these things in my head,” in the pre-event press conference on Thursday. “It helps me find something more in my riding style. For me it helps.”
Then, to a small group of journalists afterwards he added that he has not set a date for his plans for 2017 to be confirmed. “No [there is no date] but for sure I've always been working really well when I've been under pressure because I feel much more motivated. For me it's really good that I now have this pressure on the bike.”
Looking toward on-track events, Viñales mentioned the positives of spending the majority of the race with the likes of Valentino Rossi, Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso in Argentina as it allowed him to assess the areas in which Suzuki's GSX-RR needs further enhancements.
The young Catalan has identified grip at full lean, and feeing when heavy braking. “For me it looks like the initial grip [can improve], when you are on the banking still it's not enough. We will focus on that this weekend and also in the strong braking.”
Returning to the track at which he scored his maiden Moto2 triumph in what was just his second appearance in the class, Viñales feels the Circuit of the Americas first sector is ideally suited to his riding style.
“I like the first sector. I am a rider, like in Australia, have a really good line and I also really control the speed well. The first sector has many corners together and I take a lot of profit. Anyway, I feel that now our bike is strong on the brakes and also in the acceleration so it can be good.”
Viñales also opined in the differences of approaching a race weekend in 2016 compared to a year ago, as he continued, “In Argentina in FP4 it was a total disaster but in the race I was feeling great with the tyres. It means we did one step. I think if you go harder it's so difficult because already it's sliding a lot, the bike so harder tyres, I don't think it's the way. Australia, Qatar, the tyres were quite good and soft. For us it was perfect. I understood the tyres and it was the best way.
“The front now is difficult and we need to understand. I cannot use the 34. I always use the 36, because it has more feeling in the front. Finally we take out result. I know we crash but if not we were on the podium. We found something good. If we have more hard it'll be difficult to do. For sure there is more spinning.”
On the current electronics system compared to the 2015 system, he added, “It [the '16 version] has more channels and more things to work. Last year was quite a standard one and this is a little more developed. Still we have a lot of things to improve, like the engine brake.
“Still I'm not so happy with it. Sometimes I have lock on the rear tyre a lot. We need to improve the electronics a lot. I mean, wheelie, traction control and the power is OK but I want to improve the entry of the corners.”