‘I have my eye on the victory’ - Maverick Vinales ready to take next step

Third in Assen, second at Silverstone, does a first MotoGP victory with Aprilia beckon for Maverick Vinales?
Maverick Vinales, Aprilia MotoGP Silverstone
Maverick Vinales, Aprilia MotoGP Silverstone

While a first MotoGP win since the 2021 season-opener at Qatar appeared to be on the cards, Maverick Vinales ultimately played second best to Francesco Bagnaia, with the Ducati rider claiming win #4 of the season.

Vinales, who demonstrated sensational late race pace in order to mount a challenge with two laps remaining, attempted to take the lead at ‘Village’ [turn 13], however, Bagnaia did something Jack Miller and Alex Rins could not, which was fight back immediately into turn 14. 

On the limit of rear tyre grip at that stage, Vinales then lost momentum at the beginning of the final lap as he ran wide on three occasions. 

"With four laps to go I started to lose the rear because I really pushed," said Vinales. "With ten laps to go I started to make 1m 59s and I pushed a lot. I pushed maybe too much. But that was the way and it nearly worked. We need to keep trying."

On a day where Aleix Espargaro appeared to be struggling for pace due to injury - Espargaro has since dismissed the notion that his fractured right ankle was the problem - it quickly became apparent that Vinales was the team’s best shot of taking a second win in the MotoGP era. 

Having gelled with the RS-GP22 in recent rounds, a first win for the Spaniard is now the clear focus during the second half of the season.

Vinales added: "Well I’m happy [with second] but I have my eyes on the prize [laughs]. I have my eye on the victory because we believe a lot in that. 

"But second is a fantastic result for us and I started the season where we expect and step by step we are building up."

‘Aprilia has really good traction’ - Vinales, but is it better than Ducati? 

One of the biggest reasons for Vinales’ late charge at Silverstone was rear traction which seemed to be better than the three Ducatis around him of Jorge Martin, Miller and Bagnaia. 

This comes after Catalunya where Luca Marini was unable to battle Espargaro on the final lap, claiming the Aprilia man also had better rear grip on that occasion. 

However, Vinales remains unsure whether Aprilia is a step ahead of Ducati in that area: "Well, you can see that the winner was a Ducati and today he [Bagnaia] was stronger. I tried very hard and there are a few things to improve for sure. 

"Also, I can improve my way of riding the bike and we know our limit is not here. As we mentioned many times, this is a process and it’s a process we are getting in the right way. 

"We are racing well but I want to make the next step. To make the next step you have to get third, second, and that consistency that brings you to the next point. 

"I had good traction, really good traction at the end of the race, more than in the beginning of the race so it means we keep the tyres well. 

"It’s a good race to learn and to get data because all weekend we were between the top three. It is important to understand well what we did this weekend to bring it to the next one. I feel very strong and that we are able to do it." 

While each race is different and tyre grip might not always play a key role in the outcome, Ducati has seven wins compared to Aprilia’s one so far this season.

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