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MotoGP Aragon: Vinales no longer ‘in my comfort zone’

Maverick Viñales deployed his Aprilia RS-GP for the first time in race conditions on Sunday, completing the AragónGP 18th and 18 seconds from teammate Aleix Espargaro.

With just two test days at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to get acquainted with his new steed, the Spaniard jumped straight back into racing having missed only two races since splitting with the Monster Energy Yamaha squad. Knowing there was still much to learn and a lot of work ahead, Viñales remained upbeat and positive about the future potential.

“Well actually, the race has been quite positive for me,” he said. “I could understand many things on the bike, especially the areas where we need to work. It's quite easy, it's quite clear, we need to improve in one point of the track, which need to allow me to be a little bit faster and this I think will permit us to make a big step. But anyway, we keep making laps, kilometres, to understand well, and I need to know a little bit more the bike to start to push a little bit.


“For sure starting at the back, in the first 10 laps you lose so much, this is clear. You lose more than one-second per lap. But anyway I keep my concentration, I tried to make when I was alone, the rhythm, which wasn't bad at all, was quite close to the top guys. Was positive to stay all the race. Honestly I felt quite good on the bike, which is important and I felt clearly where I have to improve.

“I need to improve a lot the corner entry because I was used to do it in one way and right now I need to change that a little bit and still I don't have the confidence to do it,” he explained further. “It will arrive, it will arrive for sure.

“Tyre life was good on the race, I could push until the last laps, so there is positive things, even if the race wasn't perfect. I did the same pace that I did in FP4. So I didn't feel I was losing grip, and this is important too.

“In the beginning of the race where I felt a good potential on the bike I was limited, because I had a few riders in the front, also I didn't know the bike, I didn't know how much I can push, but then on the middle of the race I felt quite nice. I could ride well and at the end of the race we were quite competitive. I needed to collect information from this race weekend also, I have to understand the team and the team has to understand me. At the end with 40 minutes, 40 minutes, I have to be quick and it's complicated, it's hard, I mean everyone is going fast. Step by step we will arrive, I'm completely sure. This is the first step.

“I'm not anymore in my comfort zone so this is a challenge. This is a big challenge. It's clear that I would like to be in the front from the first race, but is not there, I need to work harder and I need to understand a little bit more the bike, step by step. There is going to be a point where we're going to make a big step. That's clear.

“We know it is very important to do one fast lap so we're going to work on that and also on the points where I feel more weak. Actually was a little bit the going in, into the corner but this is feeling, this is confidence.”

While Viñales has always been known for his late-race pace, an issue he often struggled while at Yamaha was his starts, a problem he no longer seems to be worrying about with his new machine.

“I was very curious to see how was the start, and the start was fantastic!” he said confidently. “I was quite happy about that. Basically the point is that I need to set up the bike a little bit in a different way, then we need to keep working and I need to keep understanding the bike. I said yesterday, the way of braking is too different, and also the way to do the lap time, too, so I need to learn, I need to learn a lot!”

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