And so the winless streak stretches on. Maverick Viñales was at a loss to explain Yamaha’s lack of competitiveness in Sunday’s MotoGP race at Misano in which he was “sliding all corner” and overtaken “as if I was stopped.”

The 13th round of 2018 had a miserable outcome for all four of Yamaha’s entrants, with Viñales struggling to a distant fifth, 16 seconds behind race winner Andrea Dovizioso, just one day after qualifying on the front row for the first time since early June.

More than the result, however, it was the lack of feel when comparing his M1 to Saturday afternoon’s FP4 session, which he topped, that was most puzzling. This was another worrying outcome. All weekend the 23-year old had spoken of his improved feel when braking. But that wasn't evident on Sunday.

“After FP4 my feelings were very good,” said Viñales, who came home two places ahead of team-mate Valentino Rossi. “I was riding quite easily in 1m 32s in FP4, but in the race, it was totally the opposite feeling. A very slippery track as usual, and losing a lot on the braking area. We have to keep working, I have some ideas for Motorland [Aragon], so let's see if it works.”

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Where were the problems most apparent? “For me, actually the problems start on braking,” he said. “I lose the rear so easily, it slides so much. It comes from the rear, and then I keep sliding all corner, because I enter so slowly into the corner that I need to grab the gas so early.

“So I keep sliding all corner. So first of all, we have to improve the braking area. Anyway, we have some ideas to try to improve. This weekend, yeah, if we take out the race, I felt really strong. When the bike was there I was able to be in the top, and that's something positive. Not in Brno, not in Austria, I wasn't able to be there.

“But in Silverstone and here, Friday and Saturday I was able to be in the front, leading some practices. So at least on one side we improve, now in the race we need to improve.

“For example, when the track condition is perfect, the electronics don't have to work so much. I mean, the chassis is great, I think we have a really good chassis. And it supplies quite a bit of everything.

“But when the electronics have to work, for example in the race when the track is slippery, they are still not ready. So we need time to adjust well when the track is slippery.”

Many of Viñales’ issues through 2018 have come in the races’ early laps, his dropping down the order a regular sight as he battles with a full fuel tank and new tyres. How were his impressions in the opening laps of Sunday’s encounter?

“I think when the grip level on the bike will be good, I will push from the first laps,” he said. “Today I tried, but already on the second corner, I nearly made a highside, so I know where the level of the grip is.

“So Rins and Cal were overtaking me like I was stopped in the corner. And yesterday it was the opposite. So honestly, I didn't understand why, but it's like this in the races, we can't be as competitive as we are in FP4, or qualifying, or FP1.

“I just know that when the bike has grip, it's one of the best bikes to ride, but as soon as we lose the grip, the electronics don't help the bike, and it makes it so difficult to go fast and to be precise, you know?

“I mean, I never missed the corner in the 100 laps of the test, and even yesterday and Friday. Today, I missed in one lap, maybe two or three corners. So it means that today, there was something wrong on the bike. We need to try to understand and to work.

“It's one and a half years suffering the same, so one more race, I don't care. I'm happy that yesterday and Friday I was competitive, between top three, so when the bike permits me to go fast, I'm there.”

It’s now 22 races that Yamaha has gone without winning a MotoGP race. Should neither Viñales, Rossi or Tech 3’s Johann Zarco not win next time out at Aragon, it will be the factory’s longest winless streak since the 1970s.

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