Maverick Viñales has vowed to continue giving his all for Yamaha after a disastrous day for the manufacturer at Aragon, which saw the 23-year old qualify eleventh, the first of the grid’s four M1s.

The issues from Friday remained. A lack of grip prevented Viñales from lapping the 3.1-mile Motorland Aragon track within 0.9s of pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo, and he admitted motivation in such circumstances was difficult to muster.

It was all a contrast to 2017, when Viñales was on pole position. His final time from today (a 1m 47.810s compared to his 1m 47.635s of last year) underlined Yamaha’s decline. Rivals Honda and Ducati have “improved one second,” he explained. Now a modest top-ten salvage job is the height of his ambitions.

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“Everyone improved one second from last year and we went two tenths back,” he explained. “It seems like the bike works less than last year. It looks like this. Anyway, I think I should run a little bit faster than last year but not as I expect to be.

“It’s what I said. In the test I felt quite great but in the race weekend it’s impossible to have the same consistency as I had in the test. It’s impossible. I slide a lot in the tyres.”

On his qualifying efforts, Viñales continued: “Well actually in Q1 I didn’t do the best because I didn’t use the second tyre. So the lap time in Q2 was with a used tyre.

“Then I got one new one and I got one problem with one sensor and I couldn’t finish the lap. I think my lap time is not true. I would have been a little bit more in the front.

“Honestly, I gave my best. I tried to be concentrated as always. I tried to take the maximum from what I had. I mean, in FP4 it was really quite OK. In that moment I was giving my best every lap and it seems to be complicated to be fast but, anyway, tomorrow we’re going to try and make another step.”

Is motivation in such moments difficult to conjure? “Yeah, for sure,” he said. “It is because we know we can be in the top three. That’s why it’s difficult to keep the motivation high.

“At the moment, as I said yesterday, when the things don’t go [well] I try to work a little bit better. So it’s what I’m trying to do – to make it work a bit better to see if we can be inside the top ten.

“In qualifying finally I think I didn’t make a good lap because my lap time was with a used tyre from Q1. In qualifying I need to take it up. I need to rest with the feelings I had in FP4. It was OK, but not great, because I was pretty far from the top, but it was OK.”

On whether he feels part of the malaise stems from a disconnect with the Yamaha factory in Japan, Viñales preferred to not think about such matters.

“I’m really concentrated just on today and being ready for tomorrow,” he said. “I don’t want to think about next year, otherwise it will be bad and I will make 15th. I need to keep concentrated on this year.

“I’ll do my best to trust the bike, to trust that we can make a small step. As I said, I need to be ready so that when the bike works a little bit good I can be there. I don’t want to think onto the next year already.”

On the three-place grid penalty he received for touring around the racing line in Q1, he was accepting. “I think from what I saw I disturbed Bradley. So rules are rules. It’s like this. I can’t say anything more. It’s like this.”

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