Vinales: Qualifying critical, M1 felt 'almost perfect'

Maverick Vinales says a strong qualifying will be essential at the Italian MotoGP, as he seeks to build on an 'almost perfect' feeling with his Yamaha in Le Mans.
Vinales: Qualifying critical, M1 felt 'almost perfect'

After the high of Jerez, where Maverick Vinales took his first podium of the season at one of his and Yamaha's worst tracks, the Spaniard was sent back down to earth - literally - at Le Mans.

Vinales could only manage eleventh on the grid during a damp qualifying in France and dropped to 14th in the early stages of the dry race, when he was then taken out by Francesco Bagnaia.

It was the second time this season Vinales has been sent flying after contact from another rider and means he is now just tenth in the world championship, with his title hopes already realistically over.

One of Vinales' top priorities for Mugello this weekend is to perform better in qualifying, while insisting his feeling with the M1 was otherwise 'almost perfect' at Le Mans.

"After the crash at Le Mans, I left the circuit with a bad taste in my mouth, I was very disappointed," Vinales said.

"We worked very well all weekend, but the problem was that I started too far from the first row of the grid. We‘ve learned from this, we have to work hard on Saturdays.

"I'm really looking forward to being back on my bike this weekend. During the last grand prix I had a good feeling on the M1, it was almost perfect and I was able to go very fast.

"We are solving all the problems step-by-step. I'm sure that we are heading in the right direction. So, if we'll continue working hard, good results will arrive soon.

"Mugello is a track that I like and where I've always had a lot of fun, and it's perfect for my riding style, so let's see what happens.”

Vinales qualified on the front row at Mugello last season, but slipped back to eighth in the race, having finished second from pole position in 2017.

Team-mate Rossi made it two consecutive Mugello poles for Yamaha in 2018, going on to complete the podium behind the Ducatis in the race.

However Yamaha - like Suzuki - will need to compensate for a lack of top speed against Ducati and Honda on the longest straight of the year this weekend.