Vinales on his last-lap fight with Bagnaia: “I learned from Le Mans”

Maverick Vinales says lessons learned from Le Mans served him to be cautious when fighting MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia.
Maverick Vinales, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya 2023
Maverick Vinales, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya 2023

The factory Aprilia rider, like Aleix Espargaro, held an advantage over the rest of the field when it came to out-right performance during the Catalan MotoGP sprint.

But unlike his teammate, Vinales failed to make use of it when attempting to overtake Bagnaia, with the Italian ultimately holding on to P2.

After already clashing in a big way at the French MotoGP earlier this season, Vinales was keen to avoid a similar mistake.

The closest Vinales came to overtaking Bagnaia was a turn 11 when he tried to slide up the inside, but after looking over his shoulder to see where the world champion was, Vinales thought better of it.

Vinales said of his battle: "I just had a look because I didn’t know where Pecco was. I just had a look because at least I learned from Le Mans. 

"I just had a look because I didn’t want to make a mess. He was more in front so I was the rider that had to look because I was behind. 

"I just had a look to see where he was and tried to get closer for the last corner, but he braked so late. I didn’t expect it. I expected him to brake earlier but he did so well."

While it proved to be a day where Espargaro held the advantage over Vinales, the ex-Yamaha rider says having the veteran alongside him will be a benefit going into Sunday’s race.

Talking about the impact of Espargaro inside the Aprilia team, Vinales said: "When I entered Aprilia I knew that the bike was completely developed by Aleix because I think it’s now his eighth year. 

"It’s normal because he made all the evolution and I needed to make a switch on my head. It’s not easy. It’s not an easy bike. 

"I mentioned many times that it’s not an easy bike but when you ride it well and you take the maximum then you have the chance to be in the front. That’s fantastic. 

"Sometimes we take different directions because I ride very differently. Aleix has more angle on the bike but I ride much more with the body very out and picking up the bike. 

"Sometimes it’s a good thing when there is lots of grip but when there is no grip then it’s more difficult to make traction. 

"Luckily I have Aleix on the other side and he was the fastest today so I can learn. But it’s not easy. It’s not an easy bike. 

"The first time I jumped up on it I said to Aleix ‘Chapeau’. But I’m always there. It doesn’t matter the bike or the brand which is good."

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