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Vinales: Jerez 'potentially very good' for Yamaha

'We've made good steps lately, so potentially we could be arriving at a very good track for the Yamaha' – Maverick Vinales, Spanish MotoGP.
Vinales: Jerez 'potentially very good' for Yamaha

After a strong pre-season, Maverick Vinales must have expected much better than twelfth in the world championship heading to the start of the European season, in front of his home Spanish fans, at Jerez this weekend.

Yet that's the situation he faces, after a race day disappointment in Qatar, Argentina and Texas.

The Monster Yamaha rider qualified on the front row for two of those events, but slipped to seventh in Qatar then was taken down while fighting for fifth on the last lap in Argentina.

A jump start in Texas then meant a recovery ride to eleventh, from sixth on the grid.

But Vinales was the top Yamaha in third at November's Jerez test, just a fraction behind the Honda's of Takaaki Nakagami and Marc Marquez, providing hope the M1 can be competitive at what has proven to be one of its toughest tracks for the past two seasons.

"I'm happy because finally we arrive to the European rounds. In Austin, despite the problems we encountered, I felt very good riding my bike and I had a very good race pace," Vinales said.

"We've had some difficulties in Jerez in the past, but I think that we've made good steps lately, so potentially we could be arriving at a very good track for the Yamaha. I hope to be fighting for the podium from the start of the race.

"We are going to work very hard all week to make it happen."

Team-mate Valentino Rossi is currently second to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) in the world championship after second place finishes at the last two rounds.