Maverick Vinales has admitted he faced a 'difficult' choice between staying at Yamaha or switching to Ducati for the 2021 MotoGP season.

The Spaniard eventually opted to remain on an M1, believing that doing so gives him the best chance of finally clinching the world championship.

"I have a very good relationship with [Ducati team manager] Davide Tardozzi, it was difficult to choose between Ducati and Yamaha," Vinales told SkySport.it.

"In the end, however, I chose Yamaha because I want to try to win the title, I don't know if I would have had the opportunity to do it away from Yamaha.

"I think my riding style would be fine for the Ducati, which is very powerful. It's a beautiful bike, also thanks to its aerodynamics. But our Yamaha is also very beautiful.

"The future? Who knows, maybe I could go back to Suzuki, but for now I am only thinking of winning in Yamaha. "

Vinales has won six races during his three seasons to date with Yamaha, so far reaching a peak of third overall (2017 and 2019) in the title chase.

Alongside changes to his own side of team garage, a rejig of Yamaha's management and racing structure also began to bear fruit during the second half of last season. The factory has then continued its momentum over the winter, with Vinales quickest at the end of pre-season testing.

"Yamaha went into crisis with the change of tyres [in 2016], but now we are working a lot on the consistency of the bike, the technicians from Japan have also done a great job and our bike today is much more competitive than in the past," Vinales explained.

"I like this Yamaha and I like this team with [crew chief] Esteban Garcia. Last year I had several problems, [including top speed] I've mainly tried to improve the start as it is important to stay near the front after the first corners: we are making progress and with the new Yamaha we will be able to do very well."

But achieving his championship dream will mean Vinales and Yamaha must defeat the formidable Marc Marquez-Honda combination, which has won six of the last seven MotoGP titles.

"The whole team must be 100% to beat Marquez, trying to beat him is my goal, but to do it we must give our best in the garage," Vinales said.

"Is Honda in difficulty? They have a very good bike; the 2019 Honda was good enough to fight for the win in every race. If they have problems with the 2020 Honda, it would be enough to go back to the 2019 bike.

"Marc Marquez is the man to beat but Rossi has my own bike, so I have to beat him too. Then there is Dovizioso, he too is very difficult to beat."

This season, whenever and wherever it starts, will be the last for Vinales and Valentino Rossi as team-mates with Fabio Quartararo replacing the Italian legend next year.

"My relationship with Quartararo is very good, from the first moment he joined Yamaha," Vinales said. "Fabio is very strong, especially in qualifying, he knows how to exploit the full potential of the Yamaha. This is very good for me too, because next year he will be our 'neighbour'.

"On the one hand I am happy that Fabio and I will work together in 2021, but on the other hand I am pissed because having Rossi on the same team has always been very nice, I am sorry to lose Valentino."

Vinales added: "Rossi has been my idol since I was a child, I have seen him race since I was three years old, for me it is an extra motivation to be on the track with him.

"I have not talked to Yamaha about how the situation will be next year, I hope that Valentino will continue in Yamaha, he is an important rider who brings a lot of useful information.

"What have I learned from Rossi? I have learned many things, what will surely remain for me is his ability to always have a smile, regardless of whether you finish first or seventh. "

Vinales, who signed a new two-year Yamaha deal, is one of only four riders so far confirmed on next year's MotoGP grid alongside Marquez, Quartararo and Tito Rabat.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...