Maverick Vinales says open and honest trust with new crew chief Esteban Garcia has been the biggest change to his Yamaha team setup having made the switch last winter.

Following a public fallout between Vinales and former crew chief Ramon Forcada towards the end of 2018, the Spanish rider picked Garcia as his replacement for this season with Forcada heading to Petronas Yamaha as Franco Morbidelli’s new crew chief.

Having felt it easer to maintain a degree of calm and perspective with Garcia at his side at the start of this season, Vinales has seen his results steadily improve of the current campaign leading to three rostrums in the past four races.

Garcia was the Spaniard’s crew chief back in 2013 when he won to the Moto3 world title, while crew chief changes have dominanted conversation around Yamaha following Valentino Rossi’s call to hire Davide Munoz to replace Silvano Galbusera from 2020.

Vinales says the honesty and trust built up with Garcia has been the biggest factor on his side of the Yamaha garage along with additional support from rider coach Julian Simon.

“The biggest change is that we are straight,” Vinales said. “We are both straight with each other and have a lot of confidence in each other, we know what I need on the bike and that is the most important thing.

“We have created a good feeling and we have created a good atmosphere inside the team. Sometimes when I don’t feel ready they make me feel ready which is the most important thing we’ve created inside the team by trusting each other.”

With confidence at a high for Vinales heading into the Japanese round, he is hopeful of ending Yamaha’s recent poor run of results at Motegi with the Iwata factory failing to reach the rostrum at the circuit since 2015.

“The feeling is really good. After Thailand I felt great as I felt very positive on the bike and somehow I can push really hard in the last part of the race,” he said. “Japan on paper looks really difficult to us but the bike is totally different and my mentality is different.

“Normally for my riding style this track really suits my riding style and I have had good results here so I think we are going to do a good race and try to fight for the podium as we did in Thailand. At the maximum as always.”

Vinales has moved to four points behind Suzuki’s Alex Rins who holds third place in the MotoGP riders’ standings having stepped up to fourth place ahead of Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci at the last race in Thailand.



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