Maverick Vinales says sticking with a consistent base package with his Monster Yamaha and finding improvements through refinements plus the impact of Fabio Quartararo have resulted in his late season surge highlighted by victory at the Malaysian MotoGP.

The Spanish rider clinched his second win of the season at Sepang with a flawless performance after taking the lead on the opening lap to make amends for crashing out on the final lap at Phillip Island while fighting for victory against Marc Marquez.

With four rostrum finishes including his win in Malaysia from the past seven races – while at Aragon and Motegi he narrowly missed the podium in fourth place – Vinales has charged up to third place in the riders’ standings ahead of the Valencia finale.

Having delivered stronger results on a consistent basis over the second half of the season, Vinales says staying on a familiar setup with his Yamaha and taking a step back from in-season developments helped him find greater consistency with his M1.

For the majority of this season Vinales has opted against running Yamaha’s new parts, such as its carbon swingarm and double exhaust, during race weekends while team-mate Valentino Rossi has recently opted for similar tactics to rediscover a stronger pace compared to his fellow Yamaha riders.

“The steps we did were keeping the same bike and trying to understand the way to ride it and the way to push it at the maximum with the electronics. That was the case,” Vinales said.

“Trying to be more with the bike, be more at one, and that was the most important thing, keeping the flow through the corners and take out the maximum from the good points of the Yamaha.

“When you work on the factory bike you need to try many things to develop the bike during the season, so it is always very complicated to keep one bike the same and trying to improve yourself.

“So since halfway through the season I kept the same bike and tried to improve myself. Even if there were new items I kept the same bike and tried to be at the best level. That’s what we did, understanding the bike better.”

Vinales also gave credit to Quartararo, particularly in qualifying trim, having used his data as a reference from improvements having seen the MotoGP rookie take four pole positions so far this season – one more than Vinales in 2019.

“I think if you have one Yamaha in front it is always good as you understand the way to ride the bike and you understand how to improve,” he said.

“Fabio suits really well with the Yamaha bike so he can push so much, especially for one lap, in some ways you study and understand at every race.”

Despite his recent progress, Vinales warns it will count for little if he and Yamaha cannot carry it into pre-season testing and the start of the 2020 MotoGP campaign when the team will duly test out new parts. While the carbon swingarm and new exhaust were met with a positive feedback earlier this year, Yamaha’s key area of improvement will remain extracting higher horsepower and top speed from its 2020 engine.

“There have been many races where we finished just one second from the victory or 0.5s and I could not attack,” he said. “That was a little bit frustrating for myself as I feel I have a lot of potential for the last 10 laps and I could not push.

“In Australia I knew it was my racetrack so I pushed from the beginning and I tried to pull away but Marc was very clever getting in the slipstream but here I had the opportunity again. P2 in qualifying I knew what I needed to do, so we did it.

“The second victory of the year is not the result we want as we want more but we can be very satisfied for the start of next season.”

 

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