Maverick Vinales feels when his Movistar Yamaha team can provide an engine package to meet his demands he’ll be confident of consistently fighting at the front in MotoGP following a solid charge up to fourth place in Malaysia.

After being handicapped by an 11th-place grid slot having struggled in the wet qualifying, Vinales made steady progress through the order to take fourth place for the factory Yamaha squad, just over one second off the podium places, despite feeling he used his full tyre life with four laps to go while fighting through the field.

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Even though he missed the rostrum following his victory at Phillip Island last time out, Vinales left Sepang in a positive mindset as he feels the set-up and chassis work has provided him with settings which are competitive at numerous tracks with different characteristics.

“On this bike we only have to change one item which is the engine,” Vinales said. “I have said many times the chassis is really good and I haven’t lost the front at any track and I am pushing the front a lot all the times, even at some tracks I tried to close the front because being P11 for me is a disaster so I tried to close the front.

“Our bike is really good we just need to get more grip from the rear, especially on braking, and then engine braking. Sometimes I feel I can lead the race but as soon as I lead I cannot and I go wide as I don’t have enough engine braking at the end. I think for them this is easy to solve so let’s try it.

“I can’t wait to be in Valencia on Tuesday to get the engine and ride and ride and ride to get the rhythm. Just riding. I am happy as today the bike was fast which was important.”

Vinales, who confirmed the set-up breakthrough arrived at the Thailand MotoGP round, is confident Yamaha can provide him with an engine specification to meet his demands having felt last year’s engine was closer to what is required.

Yamaha has accepted it’s been plagued by technical headaches with its 2018 engine in combination with the electronics package which has provided the grip and traction under acceleration needed to be competitive against its manufacturer rivals.

“They just need to increase the engine braking when I am off gas,” he said. “Already Johann’s engine has more engine braking in that area so there is not a lot of difficulties for them to do it because they already have done it. Let’s see.

“I think in Valencia I am going to do my best and in the test I am going to be very smart because last year I think we didn’t work so good in Valencia test.

“This year I will spend two days only on the engine. Two days, trying, trying, trying. More power, less power.

“Without set-up because the set-up works at Thailand, Phillip Island and here. Three completely different tracks with the same set-up so hopefully we will stay the same.”

With team-mate Valentino Rossi crashing out the lead in Sepang, he has moved to just two points off the Italian in the MotoGP riders' standings ahead of the final round in Valencia in the battle for third place in the championship.

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