MotoGP Misano II: ‘Big change’ leaves Vinales ‘feeling the potential’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Maverick Viñales completed his second race on the Aprilia RS-GP by securing a strong eighth place finish in the Emilia Romagna GP.

Pleased with the progress made across his two visits to the Misano World Circuit, and the test last month, Viñales admitted starting at the back of the pack was a new experience, and something that was taking time to get used to. The Spaniard, however, is confident that he won’t be there for long after steps made in Italy last time out.

“The first part of the race is always difficult when you start on the back,” Vinales said of his second race in Aprilia colours. “I have to say, honestly, that I’m not used to start there, so it’s hard for me. I need to get used to it, but I hope it didn’t happen many times.

“It’s hard for me to choose a line, to be able to overtake fast, and then I lose too much time behind the riders but we make a big change on the bike. We use these races as testing and I’m happy because we choose in the last minute but it works really well.

“Basically we change the balance of the bike, the weight balance and it feels much, much better. I need to improve on brakes. It is very different. The way of braking from the two bikes I rode this year are very different and still I need to get more confident but we make a big improvement on confidence.

“The second part of the race I was able to ride in 32-medium, which I think for the conditions that we had on the track was a really good lap-time. It’s hard to start with a new bike in the first races when everyone is already with a lot of races. It’s even harder, but inside the top 10 is always nice. Step by step we want to get closer, but I’m happy that at the end, I could ride very fast, and I didn’t make any mistake. So keep working but we are in a good way.”

Vinales came home narrowly behind his team captain Aleix Espargaro, just two-tenths in fact, but the new recruit said that passing was not an option in the latter part of the 27-lap race.

“I didn’t have the chance to pass him. I pass too much time behind Marini so I didn’t arrive fast to Aleix but honestly, I’m not focusing on Aleix or on the others. I focus on my feelings. I know we have to find a good match with the bike because I really feel the potential we can have. I don’t feel comfortable on the bike and I can be second or third on the fastest lap of the race. So it’s always this kind of situation where, still I don’t feel comfortable, but I’m able to ride fast. So I’m very curious to see what can I do with this bike when I feel comfortable on the tracks.

“It’s pretty tough because I need to learn many things in just a few laps,” he continued. “Also, the first lap is a little bit compromised because I never tried this setup and to go straight to the race is always difficult. I think my potential was even higher this race, because I could ride much faster on the first laps and I lose so much time. I lose minimum 10 to 15 seconds. Laps when you go out of the track trying to overtake that you are behind the others. So basically our progression is step by step but what I’m happy is that we are doing that progression.

“I’m trying to find myself on the bike. Sometimes I feel comfortable sometimes not. Also, this weekend was very tricky because the conditions were all the time changing. It’s kind of hard to develop yourself or to improve with these kind of conditions.

“Is true that in Misano we make a lot of laps but doesn’t matter, everyone makes a lot of laps and everyone can be fast here in Misano. Now in Portimao, with the modify we did on the setup, I’m pretty confident. I’m confident if we start in the first or second row, I think we were able to be inside the top three, top four.”

Picture: GeeBee Images