MotoGP: Viñales confident he’s turned a corner with Yamaha

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Maverick Viñales says he and his Movistar Yamaha crew have turned an important corner with their M1 machine as they struggle to return to the competitiveness he enjoyed twelve months ago. Starting last year by winning the opening two races yet failing to win since May of last year and slow in testing, it could be a key moment in the young Spaniard’s time with Yamaha if they have solved the problem.

Becoming obsessed last year with addressing their issues with new components, the Yamaha team tried chassis after chassis in a quest for better feeling. But, finally switching focus away from that to the bike’s electronics, he says he feels now that they’ve achieved something.

Losing out in the early stages of Sunday’s race and dropping outside the points, he put together a heroic ride to come back to an impressive sixth place – and says that it’s only the start of good things to come in the future as he continues to finally click with the machine again.

“We found a set-up that works by going in the opposite direction from the test and found something I really like. It’s something I’ve asked my times for, and when we finally did I recovered a lot of feeling. I feel now like I did a long time ago, and my strengths are the same as they were last year now.

“Looking back, it’s like I lost three months, and the bike is totally different from the test. The chassis is the same but the set-up isn’t. The strong point of last year, the fast corners, is back, and that helps so much with my motivation. But now that the race pace is there, we need to see what happens in the next races.”

And while it’s looked before like he’s fixed the problems that have been plaguing him, Viñales is convinced that this time the step they’ve made is by far the most significant.

“In testing, we sometimes fixed problems for a few laps, with no fuel, new tyres and a crazy lap. But for the rhythm I never felt like I did in the race. Now all I need is laps, laps, laps and to recover again the feeling I had last year.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer