Maverick Viñales believes a small set-up change at a private test has allowed him to re-find the feeling that has been missing through most of 2018, and is hopeful he can continue his recent resurgence at the 13th MotoGP round of the year.

Arguably, the Catalan could feel more aggrieved by the outcome of the British Grand Prix than any other rider, as he set a fearsome pace in each free practice session in the dry – the first occasion he had managed such a feat in quite some time.

And rather than being a one off, Viñales pointed to the private test at Misano the weekend before Silverstone as the time when his comfort aboard the Yamaha M1 returned. Before he had run into recurring issues with the front tyre, depriving him of confidence and feel. 

A small electronics change has modified the engine’s power delivery for the better, he said. This was a feeling he reconfirmed not only at Silverstone, but at last week’s private test at Aragon, meaning he arrives on the Adriatic Coast buoyant and filled with belief a run of positive results are on the horizon.

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“Honestly I think I found more myself and my way to ride the bike,” said an upbeat Viñales, who also revealed Yamaha had nothing new or revelatory to test at Aragon last week.

“At [the private] Misano [test] I did mid-day doing the same, struggling so much with the lines and everything. Suddenly we changed one small detail on the bike with the electronics and I started to ride the bike in a different way: braking very late and being much more aggressive – the same way I rode at Silverstone.

“It looks like it’s easier for me to ride like this and to make the lap times. Honestly, the test has been good. I really hope to be at the same level as I was at the test.”

Is this turnaround in feeling related to new parts? “No,” he said. “There was nothing significant. Honestly I just got much more feeling with the front tyre. That’s something I really need to be strong and to turn in the corner. 

“Before the grip on the front was really low so the rear was always pushing the front – I felt that bad. We’ve worked on this area and also another one [step] on the electronics. Now the way the bike gives the power is a little bit different than before. So this helps so much for me, and for my riding style.”

Pressed on how the power delivery felt different than before, the Catalan was light on detail: “It’s not smoother; it’s just we found another way to accelerate,” he said. “Before the power came so suddenly. Now with the electronics we managed to change a little bit the way that the bike accelerates. In the end the engine is the same.”

A recurring theme of Viñales’ races in 2018 has been a lack of speed in the opening laps. Now, with a much-improved feeling with the front tyre, he is confident of starting races in a more combative fashion.

“For sure [this will improve], because I struggle with the bike at the start of the races to stop the bike and to turn," he said. "This will help, I’m sure. At Silverstone and Aragon I was fast from the first lap. Even at Silverstone when the track was a little bit wet or whatever, but I was already on the top from the first laps.”

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