There was little improvement in Maverick Viñales’ mood on Monday evening as Yamaha was unable to find a suitable cure for his rear grip woes, leading the 23-year old to comment, “We didn’t solve anything.”

Viñales and team-mate Valentino Rossi complained of age-old issues all weekend long at a sweltering Jerez, where their 2018 M1s slipped and slid their ways to unremarkable results. The Andalusian venue used to be a banker in terms of Yamaha competitiveness. Not this year for the factory squad. Nor indeed last as both pointed to electronics issues as the reason behind this latest showing.

“Well, Monday is always positive but we have to be positive on Sunday,” said a nonplussed Viñales on Monday evening, soon after posting the fourth fastest time of the day, 0.4s back of pace setter Johann Zarco. “We didn’t solve anything.”

What is the strategy from here? “I don’t know,” he said. “We have to see if in the next days we can improve something but right now it is what it is and we have to take something from it.”

Does he feel the Japanese bosses at Yamaha are taking his complaints into full consideration? “I think you should ask them because I don’t know,” came the reply. “I just the ride the bike. I try to ride in the best way I can and to take the maximum.

“I think today I enjoyed riding the bike as during the weekend it was so difficult to enjoy it. Well, I found finally a good rhythm – nothing special, but a good, consistent rhythm.”



When asked how he could post more competitive times with used tyres in yesterday’s 25-lap outing rather than at the start of the race, Viñales explained, “During all the weekend, when I put in a new tyre today, it was the first time it felt like a new tyre.

“It was a new tyre and I could push. In the weekend it was very slippy all the time and, you know, hot conditions and 22 litres is not a perfect combination for us right now.

“It’s been difficult, but anyway today I always tried to be close to the race full tank and the rhythm was consistent, not dropping so much. But it’s true that today the track was much more grippy than yesterday.”

Viñales tested no new parts on Monday, instead seeking solutions in differing set-ups. “[I had] a little bit smoother bike or aggressive bike. We were trying, trying many things in the afternoon to solve those problems.”

2018 has followed the trend set last season for the factory team, with both Viñales and Rossi fairly competitive in each of the first three race tracks before struggling badly in Andalusia. Is there a worry this season could be a repeat of last?

“For sure,” said Viñales. “We know the races that we are going to suffer in. Let’s see if we can change that. We know the way and we just have to take it. Let’s see if we have any improvements with the electronics at Le Mans.”


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