Maverick Vinales says he was powerless in trying to stay on his Monster Yamaha after being hit by Francesco Bagnaia but feels his lowly qualifying result triggered events leading to his French MotoGP DNF.

The Monster Yamaha rider, who topped Friday practice and the wet FP3 session at Le Mans, struggled in the mixed conditions of Q2 in qualifying with the initial call to use dry tyres proving incorrect and restraining his charge to 11th place.

Stuck in midfield, and suffering with his race starts this season, Vinales found himself down in 14th place on Lap 7 and when looking to overtake Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia he was hit by Pramac Ducati’s Bagnaia which sent both riders out of the race.

While Vinales laments his misfortune at being taken out by another rider for the second time in four races, having suffered the same fate when he was hit by Franco Morbidelli on the last lap in Argentina, he feels the mistakes made in qualifying led to him being stuck in the midfield fight.

“Honestly, I couldn’t do anything. I was trying to overtake Aleix at that moment,” Vinales explained. “I think it’s important for us to understand the mistakes we made this weekend, which is mainly on the Saturday with the qualifying strategy.

“When you start from 11th on the grid, these types of race incidents are something you’re exposed to. So, we need to keep working to understand what we can improve.

“It started out as a perfect weekend and we ended it with zero points, so we have to learn from it.”

Having shown strong late race pace in 2019, including a sprint to the podium last time out in Jerez, Vinales feels he could have made similar progress during the French race before being taken out.

“I’m sure I could have gone up many places in the race, because I was getting into the rhythm, and even the podium wasn’t too far, just two seconds,” he said. “I think I would have been able to push and close the gap, but when you start from more towards the back it’s always difficult.

“We need to pay attention during the qualifying, because it’s very important to be on the first or second row and make sure we don’t make the same mistake at the next races.”

The DNF sees Vinales drop four places in the MotoGP riders’ standings to 10th place and is already 65 points off world championship leader Marc Marquez after five rounds.



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