Maverick Vinales: ‘I didn’t have the weapon I have now’ at Yamaha and Suzuki

Maverick Vinales says the Aprilia bike he took to victory at COTA allows him to do something the Yamaha did not.

Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April

Overtaking in recent seasons has become more difficult in MotoGP and Yamaha have struggled more often than most other brands.

Maverick Vinales was a prime example of a rider who had great race pace but would get stuck in a big group. 

But after being shoved wide at turn one of the Americas MotoGP, Vinales took things into his own hands and delivered a statement performance.

The Spaniard overtook nine riders, including Francesco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin and Pedro Acosta en route to victory.

Asked about proving doubters who didn’t believe he could fight the way he did wrong, Vinales said: “Well, in my favour during the past I didn’t have the weapon I have now to overtake.

“Everyone knows very well that in the past I was struggling to be close to the riders.

“But the way I have the bike now and can over-brake; of course it is not easy to pass but I can try and that is fantastic.

“I have the weapon to try it and that is huge. Obviously you can’t always start and lead the race from the first corner so you must fight and all these guys are braking late and fighting, but I’m there fighting.

“That was fantastic and at Aprilia we also work a lot to understand where we can overtake and how.”

Overjoyed after becoming the first rider in the MotoGP era to win with three different brands, Vinales said his level of happiness was ‘amazing’.

“This level of happiness is amazing,” added the Aprilia rider. “It’s been a tough way to accomplish this victory.

“Last year we changed quite a lot the balance of the bike and I found again the speed I had and could achieve it. 

“Obviously not in the way I did today because you don’t have this kind of race often in your life.

“When I was tenth I knew that I had enough rhythm to keep going, but not that far. In the end, in a few laps I was already with the front group.

“We must remember that tomorrow we need to train again. We must not relax because the other guys are working really hard, also. I’m ready for it and I want to enjoy it.”

Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April

Riders such as Bagnaia, Marc Marquez and Brad Binder are examples of riders who have come from way down the order to win in recent years.

And for Vinales, doing the same could prove to be a turning point as he admitted the confidence to produce the recovery ride that he did was due to last year’s potential he demonstrated.

Vinales said: “That confidence and belief came from last year. It took one full year with my new crew chief to understand the bike and what we needed. 

“But it was worth it and since Qatar I have always been fighting for the top positions. That’s what we need to achieve. 

“When we switched to the new bike it was not easy but in Portimao we understood well what we needed and now I feel good.

“When I can ride the bike with my own style and be effective then I’m really calm and confident.

“We need to always have a balance and try to have the bike in this kind of balance to be able to push.”

Read More