‘I think I can make it’ - Maverick Vinales plans Catalunya ‘gamble’

Maverick Vinales is planning a ‘nothing to lose’ gamble on the soft rear tyre in Sunday’s Catalunya MotoGP race.
Maverick Vinales, Catalunya MotoGP, 4 June
Maverick Vinales, Catalunya MotoGP, 4 June

On a day that saw Aprilia team-mate Aleix Espargaro take pole position after being fastest in all his track sessions, Vinales recovered from missing out on direct Qualifying 2 access by leading Qualifying 1.

Vinales then went on to claim eighth on the grid.

“Today we wanted the front row. We are not satisfied. We want more,” he said. “Still, it’s not natural for me to do one [fast] lap. But this will come.

“Anyway, it was a good day. We tried well the bike, the tyres. we are ready for tomorrow. I’m quite happy.”

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While Espargaro put in a very competitive final practice run on the medium rear tyre, Vinales looks set to become perhaps the only rider on the grid to 'gamble' on the soft.

“We need to check. We are talking. Maybe Michelin will say, ‘look, you’re on the last laps of the tyre’. Then I will race the medium. But if I can, I’ll race the soft because I feel good," Vinales said.

“[The soft in FP4] was a time attack tyre from the morning, which I had stressed already. So we used it in the worst conditions we could have and I finished sixth fastest. With a new tyre, maybe I could’ve been first or second.  

"So I’m curious. I think I can make the tyre arrive until the end. Most guys will go for the hard, but I can’t.

“With the soft I can make the same lap times without spinning too much. With the medium I spin much more. We’ll see. It’s a gamble but we’ll lose nothing.

“I need to pass the others on the first lap so it’s better to have a huge help [from the soft tyre] then conserve.

“If we are within the limits of the [tyre comsumption] measurements, we’ll go for it. I’m the one to push for the soft. It’s a gamble but I think it’ll work.”

While Espargaro has taken five podiums, including one win, this season, Vinales has a best race finish of seventh.

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