12 September 2016
San Marino: Viñales: Realistically, best we could have achieved
Maverick Viñales laments a lack of rear grip which prevents him from carrying sufficient corner speed; feels fifth the best he could have hoped for.
One week on from his career high point, Maverick Viñales is pragmatic enough to recognise you can't win them all and acknowledged fifth place under the glaring Italian sun at a tight and twisty Misano circuit was “the best we could have achieved.”
A day on from declaring that a victory fight was entirely possible, Viñales found there to be a lack of rear grip and thus struggled to carry corner speed in the early stages of the 28-lap encounter with a full tank of fuel.
That, coupled with spending seven laps behind Andrea Dovizioso's late-braking Ducati and incurring a penalty for exceeding track limits, left Viñales well in arrears the front four.
Yet come the final ten laps, the 21-year old's pace wasn't a million miles away from Marc Marquez, six seconds ahead. While Viñales was content with fifth, he felt the need to analyse his medium compound rear tyre, after noticing it had performed worse than in free practice.
“For my bike [the front tyre] was quite OK,” said Viñales, one of only three riders to go with the harder compound.
“I was feeling really good. Just the grip was down [on the rear] and it was difficult to make corner speed. Then I was using a lot of gas. It was totally different to Silverstone. There I was using all the time corner speed. Here I was using the gas.
“With this bike, when you're using the gas, you don't go fast. The first laps were difficult with the full tank but lap-by-lap it was coming better. I could do more corner speed because of the fuel going down.
“Anyway, I was going at 200 percent all the race. I was all the time on the limit with the red [paint – track limits]. We did some improvements this weekend that we can take to Aragon, where it's going to be hot.
“We need to analyse if the tyre was perfect. That tyre had a little bit less performance so this we need to check. About the front I felt really good, really confident. Seriously, I was doing all the lap time with the front. The rear was like sliding a lot. I had an incredible feeling with the front and had no problems there.
“If I didn't have this change of position I'd have finished maybe eleven seconds behind Dani, who today was riding incredible. For me it was a good result. For sure I want more. I want to be there at the front, winning. But to be realistic it was the best result we could have achieved today.”
On his scrap with Dovizioso he added, “Even with Marc we closed the gap a little bit. It was in the first laps. I didn't have enough grip so I couldn't turn with the full tank. I lose many, many seconds behind Dovizioso and I could ride in 33.6/33.7.
“I was riding in 34.2s. And Dovizioso was incredible. When he was in front, he was in 34s. I pass him, and he was already in 33.5s – like me. I say, 'Ah! I can't believe it!' I was pushing, pushing and he was still there. Finally he was behind and I could take some risks. I was on the limit all the time at the end of the race.”
Looking ahead to the remaining five tracks on the calendar, Viñales only foresees Sepang as being particularly difficult for Suzuki's much-improved GSX-RR.
"For me Aragon. [Last year] Aleix did a really good race and this year we're much stronger. I think on the straight we were losing three tenths [in 2015]. At that track we were quite strong.
"I also think Japan could be a good track for us. Difficult for the acceleration but the S2 and S4 we were really strong. Then I think Phillip Island is the point I can make a second victory if I have a good day. If it rains I'm going to try also. Malaysia will be so difficult and Valencia could be a nice track for us."
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