When Fabio Quartararo took the lead of the Doha MotoGP race with less than 5 laps to go, team-mate Maverick Vinales was just a few bike lengths behind him, in fourth.

But between the Monster Yamahas were a pair of Pramac Ducatis, which Vinales immediately set about tackling to try and prevent Quartararo escaping.

Vinales promptly put a pass on Johann Zarco, but in his haste to reach Jorge Martin he arrived hot into the final corner and almost hit the back of the rookie star, dropping to fourth.

Again pushing the limits in braking and cornering to try and overcome the straight-line speed of the Ducatis, Vinales ran wide at turn 1 on the last lap, allowing the Suzuki of Alex Rins to pass.

"It wasn’t the grip, I was pushing the bike a lot," Vinales explained of his late race drama. "The last 3 laps I was mad, I was going for it. I asked too much from the bike. The next time I’ll be more gentle, in case I need to fight back.

"With the Ducati you have to be aggressive, you have to be crazy sometimes. It’s what I tried to do. But I didn’t get the reference from where Jorge was braking. I braked too late.

"I was really on him. To avoid touching him, I went straight and from there I lose the podium. But no, with all I’m happy. The potential is there. I feel great. I think the team is working in the correct way. It’s now my time to improve."

Analysing his race, Vinales believes the damage was done when he dropped to eleventh place in the early laps. But unlike in previous years, he was able to fight his way back into contention.

"The race was good. I enjoyed so much on bike. And the bike had great potential. Just the start. It’s something I need to improve personally. No excuses. I need to be a faster guy on the start and I need to do it right now," he said.

"The problem was first of all reaction time, I was too slow. Had a bit of wheelie and nearly lost the front. When I saw the start, I got smoke from the front tyre," he revealed.

"When I saw myself in eleventh I thought 'save the tyre and at the end you will come back strong'. This is what I did. I was able to do '54 highs '55 low. This was making the difference. The race was good. I fought back and this was important.

"Let’s say it was a bad day today and we still made a P5. I’m also happy for the Yamaha team. They make two victories in a row and this is really important for them.

"The bike is working well, but let's see how it goes in Portimao.

"After five weeks here in Qatar. A lot of laps. Everyone can go fast. Now we will see in Portimao where we are in a realistic way and I think it’s very important that we remain concentrated. I think we did two really good results. We’ll go home very happy and positive about these results."

Vinales heads to the first European event tied for second in the world championship with Quartararo, both sitting four points behind Pramac's Johann Zarco.