A pair of second places at Jerez marked Maverick Vinales' best start to a MotoGP season since 2017.

But being left runner-up to fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo on both occasions also means that, while injured reigning champion Marc Marquez is currently out of the picture, a new title challenger looks to have emerged.

It won't just be Quartararo that Vinales needs to watch at Brno this weekend, with the Ducatis expected to be much stronger at the Czech track while team-mate Valentino Rossi was also back on podium form in Andalucia.

Vinales has only made one previous MotoGP podium appearance at Brno, a third place in 2017, while Yamaha has just one win at the circuit in the last nine years. However, his own pace combined with the factory's podium sweep in the sweltering Jerez heat means the Spaniard is in confident mood.

"We start the next part of the championship in a positive mood," Vinales said. "Overall, the two race weekends in Jerez were good, the bike was working well, even in the extreme heat, which is something we used to struggle with.

"Seeing this progress makes me even more excited and curious about what we can achieve in Brno this weekend.

"My team has been doing a great job so far, and we are working in the right way, so I think we can get some very positive results at the next three GPs, especially this Sunday.

"Brno is one of my favourite circuits, and we want to do well at this Monster Energy-sponsored event, so for sure we will do our best to be at the front again and fight for the win."

Vinales is the only rider on the grid to have already opened all five of his engines for this season, with one (which suffered a technical problem during free practice for the Jerez season opener) already withdrawn.

For comparison, Vinales only opened his final engine of last season at round 15 of 19 and finished the season without any engines being withdrawn.

 

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