He may have gone through an intense weekend of preparation to avoid it, but Maverick Viñales was unable to find a cure for his early race woes, the Catalan emphatically failing to make an impression in the opening laps of Sunday’s MotoGP outing at Montmeló.

The 23-year old spent a great deal of time during free practice riding with a full fuel load to attempt to understand why he has struggled from the race’s start in recent months. On Saturday he had also speculated as to whether he was bringing Michelin’s tyres up to sufficient temperature on the warm-up lap.

A revamped approach didn’t work. All the old failings were much in evidence from laps one to nine, when the ex-Moto3 world champion was unable to climb higher than ninth. All this was in contrast to team-mate Valentino Rossi’s strong start, which ultimately resulted in a podium place.

Viñales even went as far as to claim the race’s opening chapter should be “put in the trash.” Not even a late recovery, which resulted in sixth place, just behind Dani Pedrosa, brightened his mood. “I cannot do more with this bike,” he said.

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“I don't know what to do any more,” stated a frustrated Viñales. “I use the same style that I do in the practice and then I get into the wheelie. Honestly, the first ten laps of the race is to put in the trash.

“It’s like this because [after] I am riding as fast at the top guys. I had a nice battle with Johann but I don't think it is the place to be. We need to be at the front, at least close to Valentino so there is a lot of work to do for sure.”

What of his experiments at the start of the race?

“For sure it helps but these were in much better conditions and finally I could brake much better. Still with a full tank it is impossible for me to ride the bike, I just go very wide everywhere and sliding a lot on the tyres.

“Last year was a totally different feeling in the beginning of the race and in the first part of the season. I cannot do more with this bike, honestly. I give my best and give my maximum every lap."

Were his feeling as bad as Mugello?

“Here it was a little bit better,” he said. “In Mugello it was critical. But anyway there was no turning with the bike in the first laps. I was behind Cal and it was amazing how bad they were going but after three laps it was a bit better. Sixth is not the result I expect. I expect to fight for much better.”

The result was not ideal, but sixth was still a good deal better than a listless run to tenth at the same race last year. With Rossi third, how did Viñales explain this improvement for the Movistar Yamaha machines?

“For sure it [the new track surface] affects a lot because the rear grip was really good all the race. I was happy for that because if there was no rear grip then I was tenth because the front was very difficult to turn. We have to work a little bit more and be more precise with the changes we did and ride at two and three in the afternoon tomorrow when it is perhaps a bit more slippery and win something.”

What does he expect to work on at tomorrow’s test?

“It is difficult to test new things,” he said. “First we have to solve my problems with the bike and that's with a full tank in the first laps. Honestly in the past this never happened and I’d do my best lap at lap three, now I can do my best in lap eighteen.

“It is very strange. We have to keep working. We have the possibility to be at the front of the championship, but first we have to clarify my problem in the first laps of the race.”

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