Maverick Vinales concedes he’s struggling to understand why his form and pace changes dramatically compared to Monster Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi as he qualifies on the front row at Assen with the Italian rider down in 14th place.

With Vinales trading top spot with Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo throughout practice and qualifying at the Dutch round, Rossi was unable to replicate the same front-running speed on the factory Yamaha and after losing his best practice lap time for exceeding track limits he was stuck outside the top 10.

Rossi’s problems continued in qualifying, as he could only reach 14th place on the grid, while the two Yamaha riders in Vinales and Quartararo dominated to take the top two spots.

Vinales has joked the factory Yamaha team only has one “good bike” but has conceded he isn’t sure why his form goes in the opposite direction to Rossi’s at each round this year.

“Maybe we share a good bike! One race then the other race!” Vinales smiled. “No, it is not like this.

“It is difficult to say honestly, it depends on the track and it depends on the circumstances. A few races ago I didn’t have enough confidence with the front tyre to push the bike so the improvement I felt after Mugello was with the front contact.

“I felt much better with the bike, so I can run in my own way. It is very difficult to say what is happening. In Montmelo Valentino was also really strong so it is difficult to say.”

Having demonstrated his pace in practice and qualifying, Vinales accepts he must follow it up with a strong race result at Assen following a tough start to the year highlighted by just a solitary podium in third place at Jerez.

“After Mugello we made some positive steps forward. Assen is a track I really like and I am pushing the bike in the best way I can,” he said. “In qualifying I knew I could make the front row so I was very happy when I finished the lap and saw myself in second place.

“We have been working very hard all weekend for the race because finally we always make a step back in the race so we are now trying to work in a way that in the race I can be as competitive as I am in practice.

“I think only in a few moments we have shown our true potential and sure I have not had the best luck this year. Knocked out three times when I think I was having the best races. We need to keep working. There are many races to improve and many races to prove that we can be strong. Assen is a track that I really like and I’ve always been good here so I am going to try my best.”

 

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