Maverick Vinales sends combative warning to Ducati ahead of COTA sprint race

Maverick Vinales signals intention to "fight" Ducatis after impressive Friday at the Americas MotoGP

Maverick Vinales, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 12 April
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 12 April

Maverick Vinales has thrown down the gauntlet to the Ducatis ahead of the sprint race at the Americas MotoGP.

Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin smashed the lap record at the Circuit of the Americas on Friday in practice to top the timesheets.

But Aprilia’s in-form Vinales was notably in second-place.

Vinales had gone fastest in the first Friday session with a time of 2m 3.294s.

And, last time out in Portimao, Vinales won the sprint race. His form and his confidence in Texas now feel ominous.

“We left Portimao fighting for the top and we started in Austin at the same level, or even better,” Vinales reacted to practice.

“That’s huge, a fantastic feeling. I’m really happy with the feeling that I have on the track.

“Honestly, to have this flow on the track is amazing. You enjoy it a lot.

“It’s a track where you expect a good performance.

“There are things to improve, as always.

“But, honestly, I feel on point. I just wanted to go out and do more time attacks!”

Vinales detailed the areas where he can improve with his Aprilia for Saturday.

“Brakes, especially with the soft tyre,” he said.

“With the medium tyre, I am well set. For the race, I am okay.

“With the soft tyre, there are a few things to keep working.

“I feel confident. I feel ready to go. That is important.

“Of course, Ducati will be there. That is clear.

But we can be the guys to fight against them.”

Vinales’ teammate Aleix Espargaro was sixth in practice, underlining Aprilia’s steadily improving fortunes this season.

But the form of Vinales is particularly significant.

“No matter the track, no matter the section, when I have the balance on the bike that I like, I am able to be fast,” he warned.

“Another thing that’s important is that I have recovered my speed over one lap.

“Now, I feel very strong over one lap. I just feel in my best moment.

“I will keep working with this momentum because it’s very important.”

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