Even though Motegi looks like a nightmare MotoGP for Yamaha on paper, Maverick Vinales believes it will be a good weekend for factory team as the bike and his mentality are different than they were last season.
Vinales stood on the Thailand podium two weeks ago at a track which has two big straights but the corner speed of the M1 meant he was able to reduce the top-speed deficit by getting out of the turns faster.
Last year, Vinales finished 13s off the pace in seventh with team-mate Valentino Rossi three place closer to the podium, but the Spaniard thinks it will be different this weekend.
“Well actually the feeling is really good, after Thailand I feel great because I feel very positive on the bike and somehow I can push really hard on the last part of the race,” said Vinales.
Japan on paper looks very difficult for us but the bike is totally different, my mentality is different, so normally for my riding style this tracks suits really good, I’ve been getting good results here so I think we will have a good race, fight for the podium like we did in Thailand and at the maximum as always.”
Compared to last season, Vinales also has a new crew chief in the shape of Esteban Garcia with whom he is able to communicate in a more forthright way.
“Honestly, the biggest change is that we are both straight talking. We have a lot of confidence, we know what I need on the bike, and that’s the most important. We create a good feeling and a good atmosphere inside the team.
“Sometimes when I don’t feel ready they make me feel ready, and that’s important, create a team and trust each other.”