Aprilia MotoGP win has a “different value” to Suzuki, Yamaha triumphs

Having looked rapid all weekend in Austin, polesitter Vinales was able to fight back from a first corner clash that dropped him to 11th to take an incredible victory in Sunday’s main race — his first as an Aprilia rider and the 10th of his career.

It made him the first rider in the modern era of motorcycle racing to win races for three different marques in the premier class, after his 2016 British GP triumph with Suzuki and eight previous victories with Yamaha between 2017-21.

But while his previous race wins are dear to him, the Spaniard says his feat at the Circuit of the Americas holds a special value as it represents Aprilia’s accession from a lower midfield marque to a race-winning force in MotoGP.

“Obviously the win with Aprilia has a different value because when I signed for them, they were P15, P10, and looking how much we grew this factory,” he said, highlighting how Aprilia had only just scored its first podium when he joined the then-Gresini run squad in the latter part of 2021.

“Obviously, we are a big factory. Still we need time to improve and be more constant, but I see this year with a lot of potential in front of us.

“We must be very smart and very focused on the job, and especially things like [what] happened in Portimao [with the gearbox]. It’s about getting more experience and more time in the front, and that confidence we build up.

“We have to continue, we are a big factory and big factories win races. We did it [in Austin], so we need to be very happy and very proud of the job we did. But it’s more difficult what I did right now because we came from the back and here, we are on top.”

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Vinales’ bitter exit from Yamaha and a relatively slow adaptation to the Aprilia had led many to doubt whether the Spaniard would ever be able to rediscover his old form again, especially in the wake of team-mate Aleix Espargaro’s race-winning campaigns in 2022 and ‘23 on a rapidly improving RS-GP.

There also had been speculation about Vinales’ position in the team as he enters the final year of his contract, with Aprilia believed to be in talks with 2021 champion Fabio Quartararo before he inked a fresh contract with Yamaha this month.

The 29-year-old said he could prove the naysayers wrong in the Americas GP because he now has a bike that is not only fast when running at the front but also in the middle of the pack — which enabled him to scythe his way through the field and snatch the lead back on lap 13.

“Obviously in the past I didn’t have the weapon I have now, especially to overtake because you know very well I was struggling to be close to the other riders in the past,” he said.

“But how I have the bike right now, I can really over-brake all the time, it seems that it’s not easy to pass but I can try it and that’s fantastic.

“I have the weapon to try it and that’s huge because you cannot always start and lead the race from the first corner. So, you must fight and all these guys are braking late, fighting. I am there also, so this is fantastic.”

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