One could measure just how far Maverick Viñales has come in recent weeks on Saturday afternoon as not even a second row grid position for the third MotoGP race of 2016 could satisfy his appetite.
In fact, quite the opposite. Viñales was less than impressed with a set-up change made during FP4, which improved his feelings aboard used tyres, but took away any stability he had on fresh rubber.
The Suzuki man placed fifth, and thanks to Andrea Iannone's grid penalty – enforced for his reckless last corner manoeuvre in Argentina – he will start from fourth, the front of the second row. Still, Viñales described his mood as 'upset' on Saturday afternoon.
“I'm upset about the result, because I was thinking I could get on the front row after the FP3, because our set up was good and I did not push at 100%. But finally in FP4 we changed the set up, it was looking better because with a used tyre, it was not pushing the front.
“But then when I put a new tyre in, the rear was pushing the front and was difficult to turn. The bike was not turning. I think I saved the qualifying, because the bike was not at 100%.”
Viñales went on to say the setting change he used in FP4 would be discarded for the race, and he is certain that he will use the softer of the rear tyre options.
“Yes, for sure I will not use tomorrow, because even if it is a little bit better with the endurance, the first laps, I lose too much from the first four riders.”
Asked if Austin, Texas could be the scene of his first MotoGP podium, Viñales added, “Difficult, because our bike is still not at 100%. Every time I need to open the gas in a slow corners, I don't have traction, and it is very difficult. Anyway, if I fight and I go hard like in Argentina, I think it can be possible.
“The problem is when I am leaned over, when I start to touch the first part of the gas, I start to slide, and that makes very difficult the acceleration. We've been working one year and we have the same problem, so I hope we can solve fast.”