Maverick Vinales started the 2021 MotoGP season in sublime form as he took victory at the Qatar Grand Prix. 

After starting third on the grid, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider was eighth by the end of the first lap, but regrouped to come through the pack and take his tenth MotoGP career win. 

Vinales spoke on Saturday after qualifying about having a good strategy for the race, and that this would play a key role. 

That included working together with team-mate Fabio Quartararo. The Pair made their way from sixth and eighth on lap one, to third and fourth by the end of lap four, and were able to close in on the Ducati riders out front. 

However, it became quite clear early on that Vinales had more speed than Quartararo and it was only a matter of time before the overtake would happen. 

Speaking about that important phase of the race, Vinales said: "Well I was quite comfortable behind Fabio as I could see the Ducati’s were not going away. 

"Fabio was closing the gap and I was trying to save as much tyre as possible, especially the rear tyre. 

"And with the slipstream off Fabio we were closing the gap, so I didn’t take too many risks, only when I saw that I could have the chance to push and overtake Fabio, Johann and Pecco was when I pushed. 

"These six or seven laps I pushed and I think we managed quite well to make fast laps, and even when we overtake we were very fast. And after that I just tried to manage the tyre. 

"Honestly we worked really well this weekend and in the FP4 with the used tyre and we understand when the tyre is used how to get grip with it." 

One of the issues Vinales seemed to have in 2020 was the lack of grip after the Moto2 race. But this was a none issue for the 26 year-old today. 

Vinales himself did not expect to have quite this level of performance after the Moto2 race saying: "It is something I didn’t expect because as you know after Moto2 the grip level was very down, but today I had good grip. 

"It is a good sign, a really good sign for us because it means we improve that condition where we struggled a lot. 

"For the next race I have some ideas where to improve because at some points I was sliding with the rear on the entry of the corner so we need to improve that area." 

Tyre degradation can have a huge effect in Qatar as we saw with Jack Miller and especially Jorge Martin who was fourth after the first lap but finished 15th. 

Vinales had a clear plan going into the race on how to get the best while conserving the tyres.

"Basically I had a really good feeling with the front tyre. What I did a lot in the beginning of the race was ride with the front tyre, so I don’t burn the rear tyre on gas," said Vinales. 

"Yes I did it when I needed to overtake but then I was riding really smooth. So much more than during the weekend. 

"This gives me the opportunity with ten laps to go to push and increase the speed. 

"Overall I’m really happy and I get back the feeling with the front which was many races that I had without this feeling, but I felt fantastic on the bike."