Ecstar Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales is targeting third place in this year’s MotoGP points table but will have to steal it from Jorge Lorenzo at Valencia - a circuit where the Mallorcan has not been off the podium for four years.
Vinales trails Lorenzo - whom he will replace at Movistar Yamaha next year - by 17 points so he will have to take a win or second and for Lorenzo to have a disaster - but that isn’t as far fetched this season as it has been in recent years even though last’s year outing at Ricardo Tormo wasn’t great for the youngster.
“Last year’s race was not one of the best, but since then we made solid progress and we can say we are in a totally different situation. Already, in the test we did this year, our performance resulted in improvement, but most important factor is the steps forward we have made in the second half of the season,” said Vinales.
“Now we feel we can be competitive in any conditions, and this is a great injection of enthusiasm for everyone. We feel we can compete with the top riders and teams, and we have already proved we can be on the podium consistently - which is a good way to end a season. This race will be important because we still have some hopes for the third place in the championship.
“When we started the season, our objective was to end in the top-six, but then during the season our competitiveness increased a lot; maybe even more than we expected and this had increased our ambition. We as a team are all racers, this means we always strive for the best result possible. We are already satisfied with the season, but we will try to exploit this last chance to get something even more and close these two years together in the best possible way.”