Maverick Vinales "stronger in negotiations" update on rider market

“I am stronger in the negotiations with the bosses”, says Maverick Vinales after a strong start to 2024.

Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP, 28 April
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP, 28 April

Despite Ducati’s dominant start to the 2024 MotoGP season, Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales has kept himself in contention thanks to a very impressive start to the season.

A sprint win in Portimao was followed up by a clean sweep at COTA, with Vinales claiming pole position, the sprint and grand prix win.

Vinales, who left Yamaha after being sacked at the Styrian MotoGP, is now arguably in the best form of his career.

However, that incident could have provided a very different picture had Vinales retired, a question which was posed to him at last weekend’s Spanish GP.

Speaking to TNT Sports, Vinales said: “When it happened, it is hard to find the ‘why’ to continue. I won many races. I’m lucky that, in terms of wealth, I am okay.

“The only thing that keeps me coming into this paddock is the victory. I always had the feeling and the motivation that if I put in the work, I can take the maximum from my talent, with any bike. In the end, we did it! I expected it before - I had chances. But I had never done it until now.”

Not only has Vinales’ consistency improved since joining Aprilia, but the Spaniard has appeared to be much happier.

Asked what has changed at Aprilia during his time with the Noale-based brand, Vinales added: “It started from Qatar last year. It took time with my technician and my data engineer from last year.

“Valencia was the confirmation - I did pole and a lap record. But in Malaysia? New bike, and I got lost. I could not believe it.

“In Qatar we could have fought for the victory but I wasn’t feeling good with the bike. In Portimao I forced myself to ride the bike when I was feeling very bad.

“Since then, always in front. Experience helps. My first years with Suzuki, when the bike was completely new, I developed a bike without experience.

“So this helps. I know what the bike needs. I know I am sensitive to what’s going good or not, which is good for the factory.”

With regards to this season and whether Vinales believes he can challenge for the title, finishing inside the top five regularly is a big objective and one he thinks could get him closer to achieving that feat.

Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP, 28 April
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP, 28 April

“Now we know the key of the bike to be fast,” said Vinales. “There will be tracks where our competitors are stronger. The objective is to be top five every weekend.

“There will be weekends where we can win. The others, P5, not P9. That’s our mentality.”

Like many riders this season, Vinales is out of contract following the 2024 season.

But with Aleix Espargaro’s future also up in the air, Aprilia would do well t lock up Vinales given his form and age.

Vinales seems intent on staying with the Italian manufacturer, although he did admit that there are nice options out there.

Vinales said: “I think there are options. There are nice projects. Right now, my mind is in this year, with Aprilia.

“Every race I do like Austin or Portimao, I am stronger in the negotiation with the bosses.

“I am not worried about the future. I want to look for performance.”

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