Maverick Vinales is as motivated as ever for Sunday's final race of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship at Valencia as his association with Suzuki reaches an end.
Vinales, who will join Valentino Rossi in the factory Yamaha team in an exciting line-up for 2017, was third fastest on the GSX-RR during free practice at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Spain on Friday.
His best lap of 1m 30.775s left him three tenths behind Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, and Vinales says he is eager to finish his stint with Suzuki by fighting for his second premier class victory of the season on Sunday.
“It's difficult for everyone and it's always difficult to say goodbye, but still everyone is very motivated and I also am very motivated – I want to leave Suzuki in the best way possible,” said the Silverstone race winner. “In Malaysia, if it didn't rain, maybe I was able to fight for the win so here we are going to try.”
Vinales said the Suzuki felt a little stiff around the twists and turns at Valencia but is confident there is more to come.
“I was feeling good but mainly I was a little bit average because still we have a little bit of a stiff bike and you need energy to make it turn. We need to understand which way to take but anyway overall I am feeling really good.
“We are already lapping with a strong pace, also this is a good feeling. We are proving that our performance is getting to the top. We consistently improve and we are consistently within the top riders,” Vinales added.
“We still have some fine-tuning that can be applied. The Valencia circuit is very different from Malaysia. Here, the layout is a lot tighter and with tight corners, where the machine needs to be quick in turning and acceleration.
“We still need to find a better efficiency on this, as our bike prefers fast and smooth corners, but we have room for improvement, and we are also already within the fastest.”