Maverick Viñales admitted he was unable to remain calm throughout Sunday’s 20-lap MotoGP race at Brno as a lack of grip reduced his acceleration capabilities and limited him to a desperately disappointing tenth place.

The 24-year old was among the pre-race favourites after strong showings in fully dry and wet conditions on Friday and Saturday. However the shower of rain that arrived just before Sunday’s race changed the grip levels of the 3.3-mile Czech track.

From a starting place of ninth, on the inside of the track which was most damp, Viñales got a horrendous start and exited turn two in 15th place. From there his fortunes rarely improved as he made stunted progress through the riders ahead.

“It took seven laps to overtake [Francesco] Bagnaia,” Viñales said. “He was one and a half seconds slower than me and I couldn’t pass so I got very frustrated. The same story as always. On the start it’s true that I slid a little bit and I got stuck. I could not be more in front and prepare the first corner. So I lost many, many places.

“Anyway I was calm because looking at the rhythm in the warm-up I thought, ‘It’s OK, I can arrive.’ Then I saw I could not push. Then I took Johann [Zarco], which took five more laps. With Pecco it was in the middle of the race [that I passed him]. It was impossible today.

“First of all [a lack of] traction [was to blame]. Then the top speed. I could not even get close to make the attempt. Only corner one was where I could have the possibility to overtake on all the track.”

This tenth place was very much a return to the difficulties Viñales faced at the beginning of the year, when he was unable to make progress from poor starts despite regularly showing excellent free practice speed.

“Well, actually it’s more than we had in previous races. This is the way the Yamaha works,” he said. “When there is no grip the bike don’t work. Maybe in Assen and the Sachsenring we got lucky because the grip was not so bad.

“When it rains and then gets dry our bike is difficult, it loses everything. In the warm-up it was really good. Incredible. The bike I could ride really easily in the 1m 57.3s. In the race to go a 1m 58 low I nearly crashed many times. You can see the big difference in the bike.

“If it didn’t rain I think the result would be much different. The track grip was good. We didn’t struggle so much. But as soon as the conditions changed, the bike became very difficult to ride.

“[But] I expected [it]. When it rains and dries… Bah! When it was raining I was saying, ‘Rain! Rain hard!’ Then I can go with [full] rain. But when it’s these mixed conditions it’s very hard, the bike. It’s very difficult to be smooth and to try and get the grip.”

Monday presents Viñales and team-mate Valentino Rossi with the chance to test some new parts for Yamaha, including the first evolution of its 2020 M1. Yet somewhat surprisingly, the Catalan didn’t give the impression he was keen to try it.

“I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he would test the new machine. “I want to concentrate a lot on Austria. For me this season is still here. I want to be at the front at Austria so I have to concentrate on acceleration and braking for there.

“I will not lose a lot of time thinking about 2020. I will think about right now. To feel good I need to think about this year.

“For me the result at the next race in five days is more important. We can collect data at Misano [at a private test] and Valencia. We have three days in Valencia. Or two, I don’t remember. Two days.”

 

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