The Spaniard was second behind only Fabio Quartararo in what would prove to be the final dry session of the weekend, setting his best time on the twelfth and final lap after staying on the same tyres for the entire warm-up session.

A torrential downpour then delayed the race and, having qualified just 19th, Vinales struggled for visibility in the soaking conditions, shedding 15-seconds to the leaders over the opening four laps as he dropped to last place.

Nevertheless, some of the warm-up set-up also worked well in the wet and he was able to set the seventh fastest lap of the race - 0.7s behind Fabio Quartararo, but the same margin faster than team-mate Aleix Espargaro - as he climbed to 16th place.

"It was a survival race at the beginning, you couldn't see the bike in front, so it was very hard. I lost 15 seconds in four laps, so it was pretty tough!" said Vinales.

"But at the end of the race I had a good rhythm, good lap times.

"I think today was the most positive day since I've been at Aprilia because we found a really good setting that I was able to go fast with in the warm-up session and that I was comfortable with even in wet conditions."

Just a day earlier, Vinales had said "my championship will really start in Jerez" predicting testing time would be needed to solve persistent turning issues and lack of front feeling: "The RS-GP and I must become as one."

But the warm-up breakthrough means Vinales might shorten that timeline.

"I'm very happy honestly. We feel that if we qualify in the front, we can be in the front. I'm very excited to get to Argentina," he said.

Team-mate Espargaro finished five-seconds ahead of Vinales, in ninth place, and holds seventh in the world championship after two rounds.

Vinales, a nine-time MotoGP race winner for Yamaha before last year's shock mid-season split, is currently 16th in the points standings. His best result on the RS-GP so far is eighth place at the 2021 Emilia Romagna round.