Maverick Vinales “dreaming, amazing how much we’ve improved”

Aprilia's Maverick Vinales continues his stunning turnaround since Qatar with another Sprint victory, at COTA.

Maverick Vinales, Tissot sprint race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 13 April
Maverick Vinales, Tissot sprint race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 13 April

The somewhat murky status of a Sprint race means Maverick Vinales won’t be credited with an official MotoGP victory at COTA on Saturday.

Despite barely breaking into the top ten at the Qatar opener, his second (Sprint) win in three race starts signals Vinales' best run of MotoGP results since back-to-back victories at the beginning of his Yamaha career in 2017.

The current factory Aprilia rider picked up where he left off before the mechanical glitch in the Portimao Grand Prix to feature at the front throughout practice in COTA, setting pole position with a new lap record.

The Spaniard then controlled the Sprint from lights to flag, finishing 2.294s clear of Marc Marquez (Gresini Ducati).

“It’s amazing. We are dreaming but life is like that. You have to dream. It’s amazing how much we’ve improved in just one race because in Qatar I didn’t feel good with the bike and I wasn’t able to be competitive,” Vinales said.

“But as soon as we changed a little bit the bike, especially the weight balance, I just felt incredible every single lap. We need to keep pushing. The moment we are in is quite special, so we must enjoy it, but we can try to win tomorrow.

“I feel super relaxed and a lot of relief from Portimao. It’s strange because you are on the grid but not nervous. I’m convinced, I’m focussed and that’s the feeling I need to be fast.”

“Obviously we have to improve because tomorrow is a long race but physically I feel so good. I want to go push and put every time the hammer down," Vinales added.

“But first I want to enjoy this win because everyone in the team deserves it so much.”

If Vinales can win Sunday’s full length grand prix it will be his first MotoGP victory since Qatar 2021 and mean he is officially the first rider to win premier-class races on three different brands of bike in the four-stroke era.

Team-mate Aleix Espargaro was the next best Aprilia in fifth place on Saturday, 6.6s from the #12.

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