Maverick Viñales returns to the MotoGP paddock aboard the Aprilia Racing RS-GP at Aragón this weekend as his new adventure with the Noale factory begins.
Keen to put the past few months, and possibly years, behind him, the Spaniard was quick to focus on the task ahead - learning the new V4 machine as quickly as possible and getting to grips with the, now podium-worthy, opportunity ahead of him.
"I can't wait to get back on track,” Viñales said ahead of the AragónGP. “The chance to do that straight away is definitely important, especially in view of preparing for the 2022 season. I might not be 100% ready after only two days of testing, but being on track with the others and being able to compare notes with Aleix [Espargaro], who is doing great things, will help me improve my feeling with the RS-GP.
“The Aprilia staff is highly motivated. I sensed a lot of enthusiasm and a desire to grow which is just more motivation for me to jump into the mix straight away.
“More than excited I'm very hungry and also very motivated to start this story with Aprilia,” he continued on Thursday evening. “Right now these six races ahead is just a present, to prepare the next year much better, so our priority is trying to learn. Sure it's very different, so I need to learn a lot, I need to learn quick, this is the most important.”
The ex-Yamaha rider’s arrival couldn’t have come at a better time after Espargaro claimed the debut podium for the Italian brand since it’s reintroduction into the MotoGP class.
“For sure, this just set up a lot of fire inside of myself because all we want is to push,” he said of his new teammate’s achievement. “I've been away for a while but I think we come back on a good way. After the two tests I felt very positive to be here, to get experience also on a race weekend and we just need to learn, this is our main priority. Also understanding a little bit the torque of the bike, that is very different. So I need to adapt, quick but it's not an easy job right now.”
Reflecting on his difficult summer, Viñales is openly refreshed by the new opportunity.
“I think more than difficult, has been a release for me because I needed to do something different,” he admitted. "Honestly, I was on a block moment, I needed to move on and to improve myself. So that was the occasion and also the opportunity and as soon as I do the test I wanted to race because I felt good on the bike. I felt that I had lapped quite quick and also I felt that during the race weekend is where you can improve yourself. So there's no reason to stay at home. I think it is important for us to get experience and to work really hard in those races to adapt myself quicker to the bike.”