Maverick Vinales is confident last season’s issues in Portimao won’t occur again, as ‘potential’ with 2021 M1 is really ‘good’. 

Taking last year’s results from the Algarve International Circuit at face value would point to Yamaha perhaps struggling, however, Vinales believes the Portimao layout was not the issue, but rather losing their way and not maximising the bike’s potential. 

But with the Monster Energy Yamaha team’s brilliant start to 2021, which has seen them take both wins in Doha, it has certainly shown what the bike is capable of.  

Although the 26 year-old finished last year’s season finale at Portimao 11th, Vinales said: "I don’t think last year we had a big problem here. Honestly, we started Friday really strong, but then we just touched too much the bike and lost a little bit the way. 

"So I think we didn't understand the right way to take the maximum potential from the bike from this track. But anyway it is a track that I really like. This is the kind of track I like and that I can go fast. 

"It is important this year that we arrive in a different way, and for sure last year we arrived from a difficult race, difficult times. 

"But even with that, the rhythm was really good at the end of the race, so I can imagine that the bike has a good potential. 

"We will try to work and try to find how best to take it, and as you know qualifying will be important for the race, so we will see what we can do. But I’m confident and I know the potential that we have."

The winner in spectacular fashion last year was Miguel Oliveira, who like Vinales was part of the six rider pre event press conference today. 

Their history racing together goes back beyond the Grand Prix scene, something Vinales touched upon as he not so discreetly picked Oliveira as a favourite for the race.

"Well when Miguel and myself were in the Spanish championship, the rivalry was really high, but very nice," added Vinales.

"We push ourselves a lot, and now to see each other at the top of MotoGP is fantastic. Apart from that, for sure I know Miguel will be strong here. 

"Last year he did really good lines. He was perfect all the race, so we will see this race if we can challenge him."