After securing his first top ten as an Aprilia rider at Misano, Maverick Vinales is hoping for more of the same at this weekend’s second Portuguese MotoGP of the year. 

Not only did the Spaniard claim his best result for the Italian manufacturer, but Vinales also got within two tenths of team-mate Aleix Espargaro come the chequered flag. 

Even more impressive was the fact Vinales started from 19th on the grid, while Espargaro was another eight places higher up.

"I am arriving in Portimao with really good feelings. The step made in Misano has more to do with just the final position," said Vinales. 

"In fact, we did a lot of work on the RS-GP, ending up with a clear improvement that we’ll be able to show that here too. That is our goal - to continue getting to know this new bike and the alchemy with my riding style. 

"That helps us to better prepare for 2022 and, in the meantime, we will try to take home some positive results before the end of the season."

Unlike Vinales who has competed in just three races for the team, two of which were at the same track, Espargaro has the benefit of having rode the RS-GP21 in Portimao earlier this season. 

And given the improvements the bike has made since then, not to mention Espargaro’s brilliant form for much of this season, the Spaniard will certainly be a contender for the top ten - finished sixth back in April, while Vinales was 11th aboard the Monster Energy Yamaha.

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Espargaro added: "We are headed back to Portimao in very different conditions compared with the first race, both in terms of the weather and because we’ve had the chance to really improve the new RS-GP Aprilia. 

"I like this track and we had a good first race here. I can’t wait to get back on track to see our improvements. We have two races left to finish out this championship season well."