Maverick Viñales has revealed he holds “zero expectations” for his performance at the inaugural MotoGP race in Thailand, with recapturing his enjoyment of riding his stated aim for the three days ahead.

With memories of a frustrating test at the 2.8-mile Chang International Circuit in February still relatively fresh, the 23-year old insisted he was feeling a good deal more positive than he was at Aragon, a race he labelled as “the worst in my time with Yamaha.”

But with one eye on Michelin’s tyre allocation, which features rears with a stiffer construction – the same as those used for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in August – Viñales isn’t holding out any hope of securing a great result.

“I feel more positive about myself, but the expectations are the same,” he said of his approach to the weekend. “I have zero expectations. I want to just enjoy riding and see if we can take something positive from this weekend. Anyway I’ll try to enjoy it and be the best rider I can be. That’s it and nothing more.

Viñales set the eighth fastest time here in February, but race pace and comments over the three days showed him and Movistar Yamaha to be even further of that.

“I think it’s going to be really hard here,” he said, “because already in the test the grip was really down and here they [Michelin] have brought harder compounds, like Austria. We struggle with these hard types of tyres.

“But anyway, let’s see. I have made no expectations in my mind. I’ll try to go, give my feeling and see if we can be happy or positive.”

Much intrigue surrounds Yamaha’s possibly strategy to overcome its current issues. At Aragon team-mate Valentino Rossi spoke of the disconnect that exists between racing team and factory and Viñales stated the need to “change a lot the bike” for 2019.

“I really don’t know [what needs to change],” he said. “This is not in my hands so I honestly can’t say anything. I can say that, for example, the bike is not working so they should change a lot the bike to make it work for the tyres we’re riding right now.

“Anyway, as I said, it’s one and a half years [that Yamaha has been in this situation]. In two months they will not change so we need to keep positive, to keep a little bit more happier in the team, and pass the races the best way we can.

“And maybe we can catch a podium or maybe some top fives. That would be great.”

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