On paper, the Valencia MotoGP weekend was an unmitigated disaster for Maverick Vinales.

Outside the top ten in every session apart from FP1, the Spaniard qualified 13th and then finished twelfth in the season-ending race.

But there was a major change on Saturday night when - like Movistar Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi - Vinales felt he had nothing to lose by switching to the 2016 M1 chassis, which Tech 3's Johann Zarco had used to qualify in second place.

Vinales felt instantly comfortable in warm-up, but the new-found confidence got the better of him. A heavy accident meant Vinales went into the race with almost zero set-up time on the change of frame.

"The feeling with the [2016] chassis was great," Vinales said. "Already in the first lap [of warm-up] I did a 1'32 low, then on the second lap I was already one second faster. Something I hadn't been able to do all weekend. So already I was feeling great, and maybe I pushed too early and too much for the feeling, because I was feeling good.

"In the race, I think we had some issues with the rear tyre. The feeling I had with the rear was that the tyre was not working well, a lot of vibration at the end of the race. So I didn't want to risk more than was necessary."

But that didn't dampen his enthusiasm for the new frame, after a frustrating end-of-season run that saw just a single podium from the last six rounds.

"I'm happy because the chassis was working really well this morning."

After a perfect pre-season and three wins from the opening five races, Vinales faded out of title contention as the rear-grip issues with the 2017 Yamaha left both Vinales and Rossi floundering on low-grip or wet circuits.

"Not only for me, but also for the team, it has been a really difficult season. Everyone wants to switch off and start a new one," Vinales said. "So we are going to try as a team, as rider, to recover good feelings in this [week's] test.

"I think it can be possible. I felt really great this morning with the 2016, even if I only did two laps, but I felt better than all the weekend."

Vinales is still at a loss to explain why he lost feeling with the M1 this season.

"I don't know. Also, I don't want to think about this season any more, I want to finish this season now, and try to start a new season and not make the same mistakes.

"Honestly, I don't want to think a lot, especially because the last races were quite difficult, quite crazy for us, so we want to finish those difficult times and start new ones.

"I know last year I came here and in two laps I did the lap time, so I'm going to try in the test to be the best that I can, try to make as many laps in a row, and try to find a good rhythm."

Which begs the question, did Vinales ask for this chassis change earlier in the year?

"I never really asked, because you try to improve with what you have," he replied. "But anyway, for sure for the future, we're going to understand very well other things, and try to not lose the way. Try to trust more my feelings and my riding style."

Rossi gave a more cautious assessment of the 2016 chassis, saying his fifth place was roughly what he would have done with the 2017 bike and that, while the feeling from the bike is better, rear tyre degradation was an issue.

The Valencia test takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment

MV should ask JL to handle situation like this. His team mate has too strong influence.

I have a bit of a feeling of deja vu. A few years ago another factory were changing frames right left and centre to try and sort out their bike for their #1 rider. That didn't work out well and the rider moved on eventually...... to Yamaha.

Yeah, because Ducati should have kept using that piece of garbage chassis instead of developing a new bike, you know like the one that has now made them able to fight for the championship.


Get over it, AD & JL would be nowhere on the 2011/12 Ducati and you know it. The amount Ducati has changed since then is unbelievably, new crew, new management and Audi are pumping millions into R&D. Along with having CS & MP as test riders.

So MRFILL stop bashing VR this is a MV thread. Take your hate for VR out of it.

Get over what? The pile of discarded chasses?

I have shown that twice in 10 years a factory has changed chassis several times during a season. In both cases the problem was not solved and in both cases there was a common factor within the team. Ducati have indeed changed in many ways, one being that they don't now take the word of a rider over their engineers and look at how matters have improved.

Incidentally, there are many steps between blind slavering adoration and hatred. It is not a case of being in one camp or the other, but you do have to have some intelligence to appreciate that and understand that a small criticism is not hatred.

V80 What are you on about?

Obvciously didn't do that much good for him - look where he finnished up

Vinales felt instantly comfortable in warm-up, but the new-found confidence got the better of him. A heavy accident meant Vinales went into the race with almost zero set-up time on the change of frame.

Can't help but wonder the context of his statement - "Try to trust more my feelings and my riding style."  Him trusting himself - or the team trusting him?  I think he means himself....but the way he very publically blamed the M1 for everything later in the season, has me wondering if there was more behind the scenes at Yamaha.  Remember what "a senior Yamaha employee" said to Ben Spies in 2013?

Why not blame Valentino rossi for everything? Maybe suzuki didn't get a podium this year, nick harris retirement, and jl nor zarco got their first win are also Rossi's fault.

How about you lot re-read the article.

He did two laps on the 16 and exclaims it feels great.

He was singing the praises of the 17 after more testing laps last off season , and the whole time he was winning and placing on it.

The only one not completely happy , or thinking there was something not right with the 17 was grandpa.

As for your stupid conspiracy theories, did any of you take a break from rubbishing Iannone to notice that Suzuki published that they'd made a small change in engine charachteristic to try for more grip, which upset the whole apple cart ?

No chance Yamaha did something similar with the 17 ?

Nup, it was aaaaall Rossi and his stupidity eh !

Request. Can you please close your bedroom doors while your staring dreamily at the poster of your favorite rider ?

.....not everybody wants to see you wank.......