Having silenced his doubters with a first win of the season at Misano, Maverick Vinales heads for his home Catalunya MotoGP knowing that a repeat performance would hand him the world championship advantage.

The Monster Yamaha rider credited a change of bike balance for solving his long-running early race grip woes and is now just one-point behind Ducati title leader Andrea Dovizioso, as the second half of the season gets underway.

"For sure it was good to take out all the doubts that many people had in me, especially on why on Sundays I was not fast," Vinales said.

"I’m very happy to be back on the top but I'll stay relaxed and keep my feet on the ground. We need to understand what worked [at Misano], what we did well and then for the next races we need to continue in the same way."

"We changed a lot the balance of the bike and straightaway I felt much better for braking," Vinales confirmed. "I could take out all the potential we have on the bike for braking and for high-speed corners.

"I just increased the front confidence to brake very late and keep a tighter line.

"I could keep a very consistent rhythm [in the race] and, especially at the beginning, push quite hard to break the group. This is what remains in my head and what makes me really happy."

Nonetheless, Vinales said he agreed with the comments of Fabio Quartararo - the rider with which he is now tied for second in the standings - who feels that the difficulty in overtaking with the M1 means Yamaha riders can only win by breaking clear early on.

"Quite agree, honestly," Vinales said. "I exited behind a few riders in the warmup. Even if I was a bit faster, I could not overtake. At the moment this is our weak point; we need to find out how to fight back when we get overtaken.

"For sure in Montmelo I will ride much more with other riders, especially on the tail of the Ducati, to see how I can overtake the Ducatis, especially in other tracks."

"Montmeló is my home race, and I love racing here," added Vinales, who was one of four riders taken down in Jorge Lorenzo's early race accident in Barcelona one year ago.

"Last year, we didn‘t get to show our full potential, which was a shame, but we will try our hardest to get on the podium this time. We are working in the right way, and I think we can improve even further, so we need to give our maximum and make it another good race weekend, especially because the championship is very close.

"I'm now joint second in the standings and just one point from the lead. We have to make the most of this opportunity!"

Team-mate Valentino Rossi was also brought down in Lorenzo's Barcelona accident in 2019 and returns to Catalunya after a mistake of his own on lap 2 of the Emilia Romagna round.

"We now move on to Barcelona. This is a track that I really like, but it‘s different from Misano. The asphalt and conditions will be different, but I think we can have a good race weekend," Rossi said.

"It‘s important to take some points. I‘m not so far from the top of the standings, and the championship is still open. This season has been crazy and there are still many races to come, so we will try our best."

Rossi's second DNF has left him ninth in the standings, but only 26 points from Dovizioso.

 

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