Vinales: I’ve demonstrated the rider I can be

Maverick Viñales reiterates his belief that Yamaha’s M1 is a bike capable of winning the MotoGP world championship; says that, despite two difficult years, he has justified faith factory has shown in him.
Vinales: I’ve demonstrated the rider I can be

Maverick Viñales has reiterated his belief that the Yamaha M1 has the potential to win the MotoGP world championship and, despite two largely difficult years, he has shown enough to demonstrate the factory’s faith in his abilities.

The 24-year old was a largely frustrated presence in the paddock last year, as machine flaws, tension within his side of the garage and an inability to iron out frailties in his own approach cost him dear.

Still, it was Viñales – not vastly experienced team-mate Valentino Rossi - who stormed to a brilliant victory at Phillip Island last October, a triumph that brought Yamaha’s miserable 25-race winless run to an end.



It was Viñales that collected the factory’s 500th GP victory at Le Mans in 2017, too – moments that prove his worth to the Iwata factory that he was keen to point out at the new Monster Yamaha team presentation in Jakarta on Monday.

“The problem was in my mind the results I had were completely different to what was happening on track,” said Viñales of his frustrations during 2018. “As we can see it wasn’t my fault. I tried to be the best all the time.

“Finally last year we could make the victory in Australia and I could give to Yamaha their 500th Grand Prix victory so for sure I demonstrate to Yamaha the rider I can be and that’s why they trust me.

“They demonstrate to me the bike can be on the top. In 2017 we won three of the first six races and were leading the championship by a lot of points. So for sure I have a lot of trust in them. We just have to get all the things correct.”

The trust is mutual, he insisted. Following on from his comments at last year’s end of season test at Jerez, Viñales sees the potential within the M1, with its new and improved engine, as enough to win out over a 19-race season.

“Finally I think the bike is one that can win a championship,” he said. “We have to have a really good preseason because last year I struggled so much. I already started well in Valencia and in Jerez.

“Let’s see if we can be at the level. That’s going to be the most important. Then we’ll see if we can be constant. Last year we suffered a lot from one track to another but it was much more related to the engine. Let’s see if we can choose the correct one.”

Asked for the improvements he is hoping to see over the coming weeks, Viñales pinpointed the M1’s engine, and tyre management, a character of the machine that has hampered its riders' performance for close to two years.

“For me the test in Sepang is really important, especially to go step-by-step,” he said. “This year we have only six days of test. It’s important to not lose the way, trying too many things.

“The bike is already quite good. We just need to improve a little bit the grip, a little bit the power and I think it’s not more things. Finally that’s the thing that will give us the opportunity to do good races.

“Also it’s important to do long runs because the degradation of the tyre is going to be key to being in front, especially in the last laps. Sometimes we suffer a lot with the tyres.

“It will be important to be constant on lap one and also lap 20. For sure it will be important to focus on the tyre degradation and also the engine, which was where we did the mistake for the last two years.

“Like last year, I try to manage as I can. You try to build up a bike for your riding style. Last year the bike didn’t go so well for my style. Anyway, it’s team work. You have to get the best performance for both riders.

“Finally Yamaha will give to us the best engine, the thing they maybe think are the best. I trust Yamaha a lot. They will provide us with a bike to be in front. I’m really curious to be on the bike and to see how it’s working.”