Maverick Vinales feels going on full attack to challenge for victory at the Americas MotoGP can be his only option after losing early ground in the riders’ championship as his start problems continue to bemuse both him and his Monster Yamaha squad.

The Spaniard suffered a familiar poor start from the front row of the grid last time out in Argentina, a problem he also struggled with starting from pole position at the 2019 opener in Qatar, before fighting up the field only be to taken out by Franco Morbidelli on the final lap.

The DNF in Argentina has dropped Vinales to 36 points behind early pace-setter Marc Marquez and during the build-up to the Americas MotoGP round he accepts bridging the points gap this weekend will be a tricky task given the reigning world champion’s stunning record at Circuit of the Americas having won every premier class race at the track since it joined the MotoGP calendar in 2013.

“It is going to be difficult but if I look back to 2017 in the first races I felt unbeatable but then I started to make mistakes, started to crash and not qualifying well in the wet so let’s see.” Vinales said.

“For sure they are very strong and it is going to be very difficult to recover points but now we have nothing to lose so we have to push to be in the front and see if we have a chance to win races.”

Vinales feels his slow starts have been pinpointed down to the Yamaha’s clutch system, having felt he was a strong starter for Suzuki, and is eager to try setup tweaks to cure the problem.

“It is difficult to understand because when I arrived in 2016 with Suzuki I started really good, making up places,” he said. “But it is difficult for me and I think it is the way the Yamaha starts. I still don’t understand it, it has been over two years but I still don’t understand it.

“I need a way to understand a way to do it and then the team can help me more. We will try to improve race by race and we are going to improve the engagement of the clutch so the reaction will be much better at the start.”

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Assessing Yamaha’s chances at COTA, Vinales remains cautiously optimistic having seen his team reach the rostrum for the past three consecutive years - between himself (2018), Valentino Rossi (2017) and Jorge Lorenzo (2016) - as best finishers behind the dominant Marquez.

“I think our bike is really good here through sectors one, two and four,” he said. “I keep my eyes on sector three as last year we lost quite a lot there. This year we have different engine braking which is going to help but if we can make it in sector three then maybe we have a chance so we have to work hard.

“At the slow corners [in sector three], the bike it is very heavy and difficult to change direction and go fast through the corners but this year we have improved on that side to let’s see.”

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