Maverick Vinales is determined to grasp his chance to fight at the front in the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.

Vinales and team-mate Valentino Rossi have struggled for consistency with the factory Yamaha this season, but the Spaniard has been in contention all weekend and qualified second fastest, three tenths behind Marc Marquez, and believes he can challenge for the podium.

“I am actually happy with how everything has gone. I have a good front and that is really important, so let’s see in tomorrow’s race,” Vinales said.

“I will try to give my best as always. The rear tyre choice will be important because we have two tyres that work very similar, but I don’t know which one will be the best for tomorrow.

“There are a lot of riders that can be in the front but anyway I am happy because in that track, where the bike doesn’t count so much, I can be in the front challenging at the top; so it means our level is there.”

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Light rain during qualifying created a tricky mix of conditions on Saturday but Vinales was more than satisfied with the outcome, sealing a front row start alongside pole man Marquez and Johann Zarco on the Tech 3 Yamaha.

“It was difficult because it was raining in sector one, and sector two was completely dry. I had a good lap when the first two sectors were dry and then I arrived in sector four and I could do nothing,” he said.

“I am actually happy that I could be on really good lap times. Lets see, we have worked really hard for the race and we know our potential and tomorrow we will push to the maximum and see what we can do.

“The race is always different. I think there are going to be three or four that can push from the beginning. Andrea (Iannone) seems to have a little bit more speed at the beginning with the new tyre, so let’s see.”

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