Vinales: My first grand prix like 'punch in the face'

MotoGP's Maverick Vinales says grand prix debut was like 'a big punch in the face' to take fitness seriously.
Vinales: My first grand prix like 'punch in the face'

Maverick Vinales has given an insight into the training and diet regime he uses to arrive at the 'maximum point' in MotoGP.

Writing in his Monster Energy blog, Vinales likened the "wake-up call" he received during his first grand prix in the 125cc class at Qatar in 2011, as akin to "a big punch in the face… That race was ‘the call’ to get more serious."

Fast-forward eight years and the 21-time grand prix winner has a wide-ranging fitness and diet programme in place.

"I do a bit of everything. I run, cycle, go to the gym… I get bored running on the treadmill or cycling inside [during the winter] so I prefer the pool. I think it is good for a lot of the muscle groups," wrote the factory Yamaha rider.

"One thing I keep constant [throughout the year] is the work in the gym with the weights and other exercises. I always appreciate people that do CrossFit because in ten minutes you can be destroyed!

"That kind of stuff – where you work the whole body - is good because you are using a lot of [different] muscles as in MotoGP.

"I like to do different things. I like rock climbing for example. I only do it inside and don't need a harness but it’s really hard! It’s a great workout for the forearms and helps with arm-pump.

"I also like Yoga on Fridays. At the end of the session, after the stretching, they make you sleep for twenty minutes and it is the best sleep I have! I’m the only male in the class and that’s perfect! Even if the ladies are a bit older than me. I like activities with people because you have can have a laugh and joke around.

"I also like boxing two-three times a week. Motocross is a big thing for me and I’ve been riding a lot in the last year or so: at least two times a week up until I had a slight knee injury this season and had to stop. Dirt track or a 600: I just love bikes and it is where I feel happiest. My latest thing is Trial: it is so difficult!"

The 24-year-old concedes that overtraining is a risk, but get the balance right and you arrive at the "maximum point" which not only provides a physical peak, but also "confidence. You feel better in mind and spirit. It makes you happier. I try to work on that strong feeling all year and it is difficult to maintain."

Diet wise "I’m not super-strict on myself. I won’t order a pizza but I will eat a slice. I think little bits of most things are OK. I don't think you have to be obsessed with always eating broccoli and chicken.

"Sometimes I give myself ‘little trophies’ during the week, but I am so used to being on a diet now that if I don't obey it then it feels strange."

But despite the best preparation in the world, there are times when a complete break is needed - as happened to Vinales last season.

"Last year, 2018, with all the stress and worry about how the season was going I had a ‘step down’ in the summer," he revealed. "I needed to stop moving. I was done.

"My body was OK but the mind was gone. I was stressed with the need to always find improvement. In the end I could not do any more myself, it was the bike that needed to get better.

"I was looking for - and at - everything around me because I like to win. Sometimes I was only sleeping three or four hours and I knew I was going over the limit.

"So at one point in the summer I stopped and did nothing. I would occasionally go out on my bicycle to clear my mind, but it helped and eventually I got back ‘on it’."

Vinales went on to end Yamaha's record MotoGP losing streak with a victory at Phillip Island, but is currently only eighth in this year's world championship, with a best finish of third.