Maverick Vinales is all too aware of the importance of closing the points deficit to Marc Marquez this weekend if he’s to keep his MotoGP title hopes alive.

The Movistar Yamaha rider is 28 points behind the Honda rider in third place with four races to go, starting at Motegi in Japan.

Vinales, who finished fourth at Aragon in the previous round as Marquez wrapped up his second win in a row, accepts that he has to start and take points off the reigning champion to have any chance of challenging for the premier class crown himself.

“If I want to have the chance to fight, for sure,” he said. “We are trying, we are doing our best and trying to improve the bike, which is always important.

“The last race we were trying a lot, especially in the race – I think we did the wrong choice with the tyre. We were quite happy with what we had but at the minute we changed our idea and I think it was the not the correct one.

“Anyway I think we are quite strong, we have to still work a lot on the bike – especially for the race – but this weekend is going to be difficult and we will try our best and bring the bike at the maximum.”

Vinales is a fan of the Twin Ring circuit and also favours the hectic schedule of three successive flyaway races over the coming weekends.

“I like a lot and also last year I felt quite strong here, especially in the race, so let’s see – I’m curious to start and for sure to push at the 100 per-cent,” he said.

“For sure I prefer that [three races in quick succession] and all the years I have been quite strong on the overseas races and this year too –already in Australia I felt good and Malaysia also. I have more positive points in Australia and Malaysia but I think our bike can work good in these three races.”

The young Spaniard finished the race strongly at Aragon but says it was a questionable tyre choice rather than any technical issue or race strategy that prevented him from starting the race stronger.

“I think, especially in Aragon, it was the tyre decision because I didn’t feel great, especially in the first laps without grip on the tyres. Lap by lap I was improving the line, trying to adapt myself to the tyre, so that’s why I improved at the end,” said Vinales.

“Honestly, for example in Silverstone, when I started the race I knew I had grip, especially with the soft tyre, so I saved a little bit for the end. It happens a lot in the races, sometimes you have to push in the beginning and you can save a little bit of the tyre to fight until the end.”


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