Maverick Vinales believes he’s “finally” made a breakthrough with his MotoGP race starts for Monster Yamaha which set up his charge to a maiden podium at the Spanish round.

Vinales, who was hit with a ride through penalty for a jump start last time out, was able to gain a place at the start of the Spanish MotoGP moving up from fifth to fourth ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.

While retaining fourth for the opening 10 laps, before a brief setback behind Alex Rins, he then produced a strong late race pace to take third place and fend off attacks from Dovizioso on the final three laps.

Having been dogged by poor race starts throughout his MotoGP career, which were exposed even more in his move to Yamaha in 2017, Vinales feels he’s found a solid setting with his YZR-M1 combined with a stronger mental preparation for the race starts.

“We worked a lot on the start this weekend trying to find a better setting to be more consistent. Finally I think we found it,” Vinales said. “In Austin I think we found it as I only move in the last second because of the engagement of the clutch. It was a shame because on that race I felt really good.

“Today was important to start good on the first laps and luckily we understand the situation of the tyres and I keep saving a little bit on the early laps to be fast at the end which I think here in Jerez is very important.

“But still there is a lot to improve and we have to find a way to get more grip in the rear.”

Vinales feels the next vital step in Yamaha’s resurgence will be to cure its rear traction problems in low grip conditions but concedes instant solutions are unlikely to come from testing due to the high grip circumstances with the entire MotoGP grid on track. MotoGP stays in Jerez tomorrow for a one-day in-season test.

“In Jerez I didn’t expect to be on the podium as it is a track I really struggle all the years I’ve been here, I think my best result here is sixth, so for sure it has improved but we need to keep working,” he said.

“Yamaha is doing a good job but still there is a lot of things to improve. I also have to understand the bike as I am riding very aggressive on the bike, stop and go, and maybe it is not the best riding style for the bike. So I also have to improve, not just the bike.

“It is important tomorrow to understand but as I said tomorrow there is grip and the bikes works good so it is important to understand on race day what I can do to be better.”

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