Maverick Vinales welcomed Yamaha’s return to form at the Thailand MotoGP but the Spanish rider says he cannot be sure if his podium on Sunday is a one-off.

Vinales finished third behind Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso, while team-mate Valentino Rossi – who led the race in the early stages – crossed the line fourth.

It was a huge turnaround for the factory Yamaha riders, with Rossi only finishing eighth in the previous race at Aragon, while Vinales was down in 10th.

“It is really difficult to ride like this, up and down, because you never have enough trust but I think that race was a different situation because I could have the chance to attack on the last laps,” Vinales said.

“I was there, really close, but we need more feeling because in five or six races I was not able to be less than ten seconds from the top. I arrived there really close, I was able to fight, so I am happy that we did a good job this weekend, so let’s see in Japan – no expectations, I will try to be clever like I was this weekend and we will see if we can manage.”

Vinales remains unsure if it was a combination of the different rear Michelin suiting the Yamaha at the Chang International Circuit, or if changes his team made to the bike after Aragon have resulted in a step forward.

“I believe the changes we did on the bike (helped) but the rear tyre is also different, so for sure it helped us a lot in turning the corner, so let’s see if it’s not the rear tyre but the changes we did on the bike,” he said.

“Anyway I felt quite strong during the race, it was good and I was as always recovering the gap at the end, but I was feeling great on the bike.”

Unbeknownst to Vinales, he was almost rammed from behind by Rossi at the final corner on the last lap, with the Italian forced to run wide after the near-miss.

Vinales said: “No, I didn’t see it. In the last lap I was more thinking about what was coming from the back than the front, because I lose quite a lot in acceleration, so I could not brake later to try to overtake.

“I just defended the podium and I saw many things that we need to improve, so I’m really curious to see if it is this track and this kind of tyre, or the change we did on the bike. As I said, I felt really good on the bike and I felt really good.”