An 'incredible' feeling with his Yamaha means Maverick Vinales will be looking to continue his march up the world championship standings at this weekend's Japanese MotoGP.

The Monster Yamaha rider was down in eleventh overall after being taken out for the third time in six races, at Catalunya in June.

But Vinales bounced back with the M1's only victory of the season so far next time at Assen, while three podiums in the last four races have taken him to fourth in the riders' title (although Petronas rookie Fabio Quartararo has been top Yamaha in three of the last six races).

The Spaniard's next target is countryman Alex Rins( Suzuki) who is just four points in front.

Although Vinales has only taken one premier-class podium at the stop-go Motegi circuit, with Suzuki in 2016, he likes the track and is sure of a much stronger showing than last season.

“I actually like Motegi a lot as a track. I always like pushing there, so I expect that we will be good this weekend because it‘s a track where I‘m usually fast," said Vinales, who made a visit to Taipei in-between the Thai and Japanese rounds.

"Last year it was a difficult race [seventh place], but back then we were at a point where I didn‘t feel good with the bike.

"At the moment I feel incredible with the bike and can push so much for good lap times.

"We will see, but in any case, I will be pushing.”

Vinales still has a mathematical chance of second in the world championship but would need to bridge a 52-point gap to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), with 100 points still available.

Team-mate Valentino Rossi is sixth in the world championship, with Quartararo in seventh.

 

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