Maverick Vinales says he will make his final decision on whether to stay at Suzuki or move to Yamaha when he returns home prior to the sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship at Mugello on May 22.
Vinales claimed his maiden MotoGP podium with an excellent ride to third place at Le Mans behind factory Yamaha pair Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. It was Suzuki's first top three finish since Loris Capirossi achieved the feat at the Czech GP in 2008.
Speculation earlier in the weekend suggested that the rising young star would remain at Suzuki, with Dani Pedrosa moving from Honda to Yamaha to join Rossi in the Movistar-backed team for 2017.
However, speaking after the race in France, Vinales again stated that he has yet to make his decision.
“The decision will be really difficult but every day I am more clear and finally I will make it,” he said.
“I need to think at home when everything is relaxed. It takes time to think and it's difficult to concentrate [with] a hundred questions, so as soon as I can, I will take.”
Vinales was delighted to have achieved one of his goals this season of finishing on the premier class rostrum at least once, even if his final position was somewhat fortuitous after Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso crashed out as they disputed third place.
“An incredible day and here in Le Mans is a beautiful track because I make my first victory here [in 125cc class in 2011] and then today I make one of my objectives for this season, which was trying to make one podium,” he said.
“I would like to say thank you to the team because this morning they work really hard and I could have a good set-up on the bike. Sure, it was not easy at the start but finally I concentrated because I tried to overtake faster riders and make my own pace.
“I think we did a good race and this motivates us a lot to develop the bike and start to go more fast,” Vinales added.
“Dani was closing the gap but again I was not pushing and I was not on the limit because I was trying to give this third place to Suzuki and I was thinking a lot on the Argentina race, so for sure I was trying not to make the same mistake.”
Vinales left himself with work to do at the start of the race but said he was never in a position to threaten Rossi for second place, who took the runner-up spot by 3.5 seconds.
“After not a good start I needed to overtake five riders so finally I make a lot of overtakes, but anyway everyone works for his own set-up and in this race Jorge was working really good and makes his gap,” he said.
“Then Valentino was five or six seconds [ahead] so in the end it was impossible to try to overtake someone.”