Almost wiped out by the fallen bikes of Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco last Sunday, Maverick Vinales' traumatic Austrian adventure continued when he had to leap from his own machine at 230km/h as the brakes "exploded" in Sunday's Styrian MotoGP.

The Monster Yamaha rider had been seen raising his hand as he battled some kind of technical problem earlier in the race, but - just as with the slipping clutch one-week earlier - then seemed to recover.

That's until he arrived at the braking zone for Turn 1 on lap 17 when his brakes suddenly failed, forcing him to jump off his bike. The Spaniard's M1 then destroyed an airfence, forcing the race to be stopped, but Vinales was miraculously unhurt.

Vinales later revealed he had been fighting a braking problem since lap 3-4, but never imagined such a catastrophic failure would occur.

 

 

"I started to lose front brake pressure. I was trying, trying. I went wide one time, I was saying, 'pfft, difficult race'," said Vinales, who spent the early stages of the race in seventh. "I made three very slow laps, then I pushed again, then again without brakes and Quartararo, Valentino and Petrucci overtook me.

"Then I was recovering a lot to Valentino and Fabio and suddenly, in Turn 1, the brakes exploded.

"I think the parts go away on the brakes, so I remained without brakes. I could not stop the bike, impossible. I understood very well that the brake was broken or something, so I decided to jump."

Repsol Honda's Alex Marquez, following Vinales on track, confirmed that he had seen "some small black parts" falling from the M1, which he later believed were parts of the front brake, just before Vinales jumped.

Vinales confessed that with hindsight he should have stopped when the braking symptoms first appeared, but had been determined to try and salvage some points.

"I should have stopped, but I didn't want to stop. I wanted to finish. Even to take 1 point," he said. "I gave my maximum all the time, so I stayed on the track."

Vinales confirmed that he is braking "very late compared to the others" to try and overcome a 10km/h top speed difference to the faster bikes, but had never experienced anything like Sunday's complete failure.

"It's something I have never had in all my MotoGP career," he said. "Maybe [the brakes sometimes] go down a little bit, but I could play with the lever. Today, I was adjusting the lever corner-by-corner, so I couldn't do anything."

All MotoGP teams use Brembo brakes, with Vinales the only Yamaha rider choosing the 'standard' system rather than a newer-spec version. Team-mate Valentino Rossi said the newer spec was okay for him in the race, but Petronas Yamaha riders Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli still had brake overheating issues.

Despite the danger of his near-miss, Vinales said he doesn’t hold any grudges.

"Nothing more. I mean, we lose and we win together, so we are going to try to come back stronger. Now we have to forget these two races in Austria. For sure, these are the worst two races I have had in MotoGP."

But the huge damage done to his M1 might have implications for the rest of the season. Vinales fears he may now have lost two of his five engines for the year, after one was withdrawn at Jerez.

"I hope that I didn't break that engine I was running today. If I did, I think this is a problem," he said.

The only good news was that the set-up "gamble" he had taken, to try and end the cycle of strong qualifying and bad races, seemed to be working.

"We deserved something better, we worked hard all the weekend, and when you don't have engine power, it's normal, you cannot overtake," he said.

"But I'm happy that the setup we used this weekend was good, also in the race. This is something positive. And I had an incredible feeling with the bike, until I started to lose braking power.

"Now we have to think in a positive way, now there will races where we are very fast and especially, I am very fast at those tracks. And we cannot lose the focus, because last week pole position, this week I was there in the front all weekend.

"We are doing our 100%, but this is what we have. We cannot do more. We are seeing also the other Yamahas struggling a lot. But today we had a much better pace than the other Yamahas, but I'm doing my best, it's difficult to compete like this."

Vinales has now slipped to fifth in the world championship, 22 points from Petronas Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo, who has also been off the podium for the past three rounds.

"Brno a mistake, Austria a mistake, Austria a mistake... We need to improve the bike a lot, right now the other competitors are much faster," Vinales said.

"We don't know about Misano, so we are going to try to keep ourselves calm and positive because we know that things can change very quickly. So we can't lose focus.

"But anyway, we lost three good opportunities, because Fabio was further back, so I think my possibilities to be at the front of the championship was clear. But when you do mistakes, this is what you have."