Maverick Vinales finished Sunday's Austrian MotoGP in sixth place, at the tail-end of a trio of Yamahas, as he explored a different set-up on his M1.

The change, to a shorter bike normally used in wet conditions, was part of his quest to make the Yamaha work better in low grip conditions.

It didn't pay off at the Red Bull Ring, but Vinales didn't regret trying.

"This weekend we went for a different set-up, maybe it was not the best for the race but we needed to explore that area for my riding style," he said.

"I was using kind of the geometry of the wet, when we use a much shorter bike. [Yesterday] with grip it's great, but without grip I think we overheat the tyre a lot; it was spinning and I destroyed the tyre.

"So we're not going to go anymore to this way.

"For sure with the normal bike the race would have been better , but sometimes we have to explore and do things that maybe we don’t like, because the result is worse, because if we don’t change, the bike will not improve.

"Today maybe the result is good [for Yamaha], 3rd-4th-5th, but it's not enough. Marc and Dovi were on another level.

"Our bike is good, the chassis is excellent, when there is grip you can everything. But we have to understand how to work without grip and take the maximum from the bike.

"We will arrive at tracks like Misano where in the race we know the grip is much less, so I needed to try, to see if I could gain grip in that way. But it’s not the way. We overheated the tyre more and in a few laps I understand, 'it's going to be a difficult race' so I tried to save the tyre until the end and arrive in the best place I can."

Vinales also explained that the Yamaha has a very narrow set-up window.

"The Yamaha works in just one way. Like the standard set-up for every rider is very similar, everybody is riding the same. So, the bike works like this and you have to be able to take the maximum. That's it," he said.

"Every time it rains [before the race] the track conditions change and we suffer. But it's not an excuse. The other bikes ride in the same conditions and Dovi made a '23.9 in the race and a '23.9 in practice. We did a '23.9 in practice and in the race I could not even go below '24.5.

"So somehow I cannot ride in the same way in the race and practice. I tried everything. I go map 1, map 2, map 3. Engine brake 1, 2, 3! To try to improve but it seems to always be the same problem. Traction, changing gear spinning."

The low grip conundrum is also why Vinales was drawing no conclusions from the debut test on the 2020 prototype at Brno last week.

"It's very important to try the bike when there is no grip because with grip we can go very fast as you could see in Brno when the Yamahas were in the top 4-5," he said. "When there is grip you are able to make an incredible lap. When there is no grip, it's so complicated."

Top Yamaha at the Red Bull Ring was rookie Fabio Quartararo, who crossed the line six-seconds from victory but 1.6s ahead of Vinales factory team-mate Valentino Rossi.

Vinales felt that the Petronas Yamaha rider's use of the soft rear tyre and sticking to the proven standard set-up had paid off.

"Yesterday I was very happy with the medium rear tyre. When you can you can hit '24 low after 25 laps on the tyre you think the medium is the best," he said. "So I think Fabio worked with the soft and we worked with the medium. For sure it was not the correct decision, the soft was much better I think.

"Anyway [Quartararo] is riding well. They understand the bike, they don’t make nothing [different], just ride the bike. That's the way. It's the Yamaha, no? You have to ride, ride and ride."

Rossi is now sixth and top Yamaha in the world championship, one point clear of Assen winner Vinales. Quartararo is now just ten points further back.

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