After seeing Marc Marquez, Miguel Oliveira and Jorge Martin all run off-track due to a big collision on lap three of the season-opener last weekend, Vinales was able to hunt down MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia and provide a challenge for victory.

The Aprilia rider was unable to put a move on Bagnaia for the lead at any stage, however, the pace shown by the Spaniard was enough to worry Bagnai and Ducati. 

Had Vinales not closed in on the reigning world champion, then Bagnaia would have cruised to a second victory of the weekend, after already winning the Sprint race.

Now second in the championship, Vinales heads to a circuit where he’s won at in the past with Yamaha, while Bagnaia and Ducati have never won at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.

"I’m curious to see how we will work on this track," said Vinales. "Last year was fantastic, but it was a different moment. In Portimao we showed potential and great speed. At this track, we haven’t tested so we don’t know. 

"The weather will not be consistent. We will try to take the maximum from every session. We will be able to fight for the victory."

Vinales feels latest set-up change ‘more suited’ to his riding style

While teammate Aleix Espargaro was the leading Aprilia rider for much of last season, Vinales was quicker than his fellow Spaniard in both races at Portimao.

A clear indication that Vinales has the ability to lead the Aprilia project going forward, especially since Portimao was a circuit where Vinales had previously struggled at, the former Yamaha rider believes the change of personal and set-up direction Aprilia has taken is benefiting him.

Vinales added: "Actually, the biggest change is the group. I feel very competitive. The way we set up the bike feels more suited to my riding style, especially on the entry to corners. I can brake late which is important to overtake and to defend against competitors. 

"I have found more flow on the bike which is something I missed last year, when on a few occasions I had a chance to win. The feeling inside the team is the same from the Valencia test. 

"We know what we’re able to do, we have motivation, we know the target. But we must be real, keep our feet on the ground. Our main priority is to take the maximum from our bike. 

"This is most important at this point, to be in front in every session. I arrive with a good result from Portimao, where I never get good results, so I have the speed. But we must be calm, this is the start of the season. It’s a long season."