Monster Energy Factory Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales was apologetic for riding slowly at the end of qualifying, almost causing crashes with both Fabio Quartararo and Danilo Petrucci, but MotoGP stewards have still handed out a three place grid penalty to the Spaniard.
The Yamaha man was cruising on the racing line around turn seven when both Quartararo and Petrucci almost slammed into the back of the Yamaha man. Vinales explained that he thought he had taken the chequered flag, so didn’t anticipate on anybody to be on a hot lap behind him.
“Well I don’t know what to say honest,” said the Spaniard.
“I thought I took the chequered flag; so I say hey to the people, make wheelies, everything. So I didn’t understand. Then I saw Fabio and I saw it too late, so I don’t know.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect it, I thought I was on chequered flag; I didn’t check the screens so it was like this.”
Race direction confirmed that Vinales would be given a three-place grid penalty for dangerous riding, which would relegate him to sixth place, promoting Franco Morbidelli onto the front row.
Despite the penalty, Vinales said that a slight modification made in FP4 gave him some more pace and cause for optimism.
“We’ve been working in a good way all the weekend, as always we try to work for the race,” he said.
“But anyway this morning was quite good. Afternoon in FP4 we took a little step that gave us good rhythm.
“Somehow we create that momentum in FP4 in the first and lost exits, so I feel good in the bike.
“We have to see tomorrow after Moto2 as ever the grip is very low and we suffer a lot, but this weekend we tried to work in a different way, always suffering with the tyres and let’s see if we do a good job. We want to try to start in a good way, make good laps and be at the maximum.”