Suzuki star Maverick Vinales began the Qatar MotoGP season-opener from third on the grid and expecting to be in the podium fight.

Instead he crossed the line in sixth place, 13 seconds from the rostrum, after being bottled up behind Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa for the entire race.

Now the young Spaniard is seeking the necessary steps forward at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.

"Although it will be a long trip, I'm happy to go to Argentina and immediately get back on my GSX-RR. Since the winter we have made really positive steps forward, the machine has improved a lot; and I feel very comfortable," he said.

"The result in the Qatar Qualifying is proof of our competitiveness, but the final result in the race left me a bitter taste, as it could have been better. I'm eager to start working with my team again, we still have so many things to test and to verify; and the room for improvement is there to make some more steps forward."

Vinales finished tenth in Argentina during his rookie season, an event that saw team-mate Aleix Espargaro hand the GSX-RR its first front row start on the way to seventh place.

Espargaro struggled throughout a 'horrible' Qatar weekend, making a last-minute switch from the 2016 chassis to the 2015 version long favoured by Vinales.

"After the bad weekend in Qatar I can't wait to get back with my team and start working on my machine again," said Espargaro, just eleventh at Losail. "We have been struggling to find a good set-up, we made so many changes in Qatar, but after the race we may have now found a good direction so I am curious to try it as soon as possible.

"The technical package we have is excellent; therefore I am confident I can improve a great deal. We are all working hard, so Argentina will be a good opportunity to show this, I hope."

Suzuki is due to put further mileage on its full seamless gearbox this weekend, having elected to race the first version (seamless upshifts only) in Qatar.



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