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Vinales denies 2025 Aprilia deal done amid “open doors” on MotoGP grid


The 10-time grand prix winner has been with Aprilia since the latter half of the 2021 campaign, following his acrimonious split with Yamaha that year, and has become a firm favourite with management.

Aprilia’s faith in Vinales paid off earlier this year in America when he scored his first grand prix win with the Italian manufacturer.

It has been thought for a while that Vinales’ Aprilia future is likely fairly secure, with this only boosted by Aleix Espargaro’s announcement last week that he will retire at the end of 2024.

During the Catalan GP weekend, three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo interviewed Rivola, who told him Vinales’ 2025 renewal was “confirmed”.

But Vinales, who struggled to 12th at the Catalan GP, denied this when speaking to Motorsport.com. “No, no, I’m not confirmed. I don’t have a contract for next year,” he said.

“Obviously there is a lot of interest in continuing [with Aprilia] because we are doing a very good job, but I look at today [Barcelona], Le Mans or Jerez and you have to wait. You have to wait.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“There are open doors and you have to wait a little bit and decide what’s best for me in terms of performance.

“I want to win, honestly, and I think I have the ability to be able to fight to win, and I have to take a good look at what’s the best option.

“What is the most complete, what is the package that will give me the best option, the maximum to exploit my best level.”

Over the Catalan GP weekend, Rivola hinted to motogp.com that Aprilia’s interest in replacing Espargaro was with an Italian rider.

Enea Bastianini, who is set to lose his factory Ducati seat for 2025, has been linked in recent weeks to Aprilia, while Rivola also mentioned Marco Bezzecchi’s name to Lorenzo.

“After Saturday’s race, I asked him [Espargaro] if he was sure, if he really wants to retire. But he told me that the decision has been made,» said Rivola.

“We have to wait for Ducati to make its decision. Then there may be interesting Italian riders left, like Enea Bastainini or Marco Bezzecchi.”

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Aprilia must “be smart” to avoid Barcelona MotoGP expectations after 2023


The sixth round of the 2024 campaign takes place this weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and is expected to be a strong hunting ground for Aprilia.

This is because of Aleix Espargaro’s run to victories in the sprint and the grand prix last year at the venue, while Maverick Vinales was second in the latter to complete Aprilia’s first 1-2 in MotoGP.

Vinales says a repeat would be “a dream” this weekend, but has moved to stop expectation being mounted on Aprilia’s shoulders for past precedent.

“I don’t know,” he said in France when asked, after finishing fifth, if Barcelona was the track for Aprilia to return to the top step of the podium.

“It will be a dream for sure, but we don’t know. It’s difficult to say in this championship because everything can change.

“The tyres are a little bit different, so new technology. We don’t know how it works in Montmelo, so we need to be smart enough to not put too much expectation on ourselves, to be honest.

“If we have a good Friday we will put on expectation and we will go for everything. But first of all, we need to see how things go there. May in Montmelo, [there can be] a lot of rain. So, we’ll see.”

Photo by: Marc Fleury

What happened at the 2023 Catalan GP?

The Catalan GP capped off a whirlwind few weeks for the factory Aprilia squad, which began in August with a win for Aleix Espargaro at the British GP.

With the characteristics of Silverstone and Barcelona being similar, while the low-grip nature of the latter lending itself to the strong traction of the RS-GP – as well as Espargaro’s more old-school riding style, Aprilia was a force at the Catalan GP.

It was 1-2 with Espargaro and Vinales in both of Friday’s practice sessions, while RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira topped Saturday morning’s FP2.

Oliveira then topped Q1 on his 2022-spec RS-GP, while Francesco Bagnaia on the factory Ducati finally halted Aprilia’s stranglehold on the top of the times in Q2 with pole.

But Espargaro, starting second, overhauled him in the sprint to win by 1.989s, with Vinales third. And in the grand prix, Espargaro beat Vinales by 0.377s to score his second Sunday win of the season.

Aprilia’s winning form has faded again in 2024

The 2024 RS-GP came into the season as a bike that Vinales wasn’t happy with but Espargaro raved about over its step forward.

But Vinales was able to be on podium pace in Portugal after Aprilia was able to improve the balance for him to utilise his riding style properly. A gearbox issue thwarted his hopes, but a first victory since 2021 followed at Austin.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

However, since then, Aprilia’s form has dipped away. Poor qualifying results for Espargaro and Vinales at Jerez made life difficult, while the latter experienced “a wear issue” with a part on the bike he raced that meant he struggled to ninth.

At Le Mans, Vinales could do no more than fifth as team-mate Espargaro faded out of the podium battle in the early stages to end up ninth (though two run-ins with riders also hindered his progress).

As MotoGP heads to a weekend in which Aprilia is expected to do well, Vinales was asked in France what the marque needs to do to break through the ceiling it’s seemingly stuck at.

“It’s a good question,” he said. “I wish to do the step in the next races. Obviously, we go to Montmelo and the expectations will be very high, but we need to be conservative [and consider] that maybe the Ducati has improved a lot.

“It will also be strong in this track. But for the rest of the tracks, we need to check how to make this next step. Obviously there will be tracks that will be better and not.

“I thought that when I came [to Le Mans] the weekend should be good, but the guys were telling me maybe this was not the best for the bike and in the end they were right.”

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Vinales clutch issue had Aprilia “worried” ahead of Americas MotoGP fightback


Vinales scored his first grand prix win since 2021 last Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas, having taken victory in the sprint and also qualified on pole.

Previously leading from start to finish in the sprint, Vinales didn’t get the best of launches in the grand prix and was bumped down to 11th after contact at Turn 1.

But he fought his way back through the field to take the lead on lap 13 of 20 and got to the chequered flag 1.7 seconds clear of the field.

Vinales revealed after the race that he had a clutch issue from the morning warm-up that “worried” his Aprilia team which ultimately forced him into a fightback.

“Actually, this morning I had an issue with the clutch and the team was quite worried,” Vinales said on Sunday afternoon.

“So, they didn’t really want to touch anything. I had the same thing in the race, but I was not bad. I was second, third, so that was ok.

“But I saw Pecco [Bagnaia] enter and push me very wide. But because also Jorge [Martin] was on the inside, so that was a racing incident and after that I said ‘no, come on, no!’

“So, I kept concentrated, and I kept believing that I was able to do it.

“The way I see I was recovering the gap so quick to the front guys, I said ‘one at a time man’.

“I did it and it was crazy. I was enjoying every single lap. Some riders overtook me again, but I braked late enough to make them go wide.”

Vinales’ first grand prix win as an Aprilia rider makes him the first competitor in the modern MotoGP era to have scored a victory with three different manufacturers.

And in the history of MotoGP, only four other riders over the last 75 years had achieved that feat before him – the last being Loris Capirossi when he won for Ducati in 2003.

Vinales said achieving this bit of history with Aprilia is “a dream” given the marque had only just scored its first podium prior to him joining late in 2021.

“To be honest, you are never looking at that but when you see it, it makes you feel very special because not many riders can do things like that,” he said of his new record.

“However, to arrive to the top with Aprilia… I don’t know, I think it’s a dream.

“It’s not the same as when you go to a team that’s already winning, you know the bike is fantastic.

“We arrived to Aprilia, Aleix [Espargaro] achieved two victories and then leaves a good bike and I’m taking this next step [with it].

“It’s so fantastic. I need to thank Aleix for the work he is doing and to Aprilia.”

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How Vinales finally banished his Yamaha MotoGP demons


Maverick Vinales’ MotoGP career has so far run for 163 rounds since he made his debut with Suzuki in 2015. In that time he has taken 10 grand prix wins, which equates to a winning average of just 6.135% — or one per season, with the Spaniard now in his 10th in the premier class.

His latest came last weekend at the Americas Grand Prix, in which he became the first rider in the modern MotoGP era to win races on three different manufacturers. In MotoGP’s 75-year history, only Loris Capirossi (Ducati, Honda, Yamaha), Eddie Lawson (Honda, Yamaha, Cagiva), Randy Mamola (Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha) and Mike Hailwood (MV Agusta, Norton, Honda) have done what Vinales has.

Truly, Vinales is an enigma. He was the hottest property in the paddock when he stepped up to MotoGP with the fledgling Suzuki project in 2015, having won the Moto3 title in 2013 (a year after he walked away from the 2012 fight over a dispute with his team at the time) and finished third in his only Moto2 campaign in 2014.

His first MotoGP win came in 2016 at the British GP on the Suzuki, by which time Yamaha had already prized him away from its Japanese rival to replace Ducati-bound Jorge Lorenzo. Two races into his Yamaha career in 2017, Vinales had a 100% win record Lorenzo struggled on the Desmosedici, while a third victory followed in a dramatic French GP when he beat team-mate Valentino Rossi in a duel the Italian crashed out of.

Then it all just fizzled out. The M1 package proved inconsistently competitive, with Vinales not winning again until Australia 2018. He won twice in 2019, once in 2020 and once in 2021 at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

But, as team-mate Fabio Quartararo dragged the bike to the championship, Vinales slumped. Poor starts meant he couldn’t fight much on the underpowered Yamaha, while discontent brewed behind the scenes. Yamaha’s replacement of crew chief Esteban Garcia didn’t sit well, while Vinales grew ever more frustrated at feeling like he was becoming a test rider.

Vinales showed plenty of potential with Yamaha before relations soured and he was dropped after the 2021 Styrian GP when in his frustration he deliberately over-revved the engine

Vinales showed plenty of potential with Yamaha before relations soured and he was dropped after the 2021 Styrian GP when in his frustration he deliberately over-revved the engine

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

A lowly 19th at the German GP as he simply gave up saw the cracks widen, as he felt Yamaha’s responses to his woes were “starting to seem disrespectful”. Showing little emotion for his podium at the following Dutch TT, Yamaha announced it had agreed to end Vinales’ two-year deal with it on the Monday afterwards. Then he was dropped with immediate effect after the Styrian GP, as boiling over frustrations led him to deliberately overrev his Yamaha’s engine as he retired from the race.

Vinales has always had his backers, though. In 2021, Cal Crutchlow noted: “If I look at Maverick Vinales, his speed and talent-wise, along with Marc Marquez, there is nobody faster in the championship and he could win a world title with his eyes closed if he puts everything together.”

Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola is another who has always backed Vinales, offering his career lifeline partway through 2021 and sticking by the Spaniard through 2022 and 2023 when his results were far from where they needed to be.

Aprilia could afford to be more patient than Yamaha. At the time of his souring relationship, Yamaha had been a title contender the year before with Quartararo and was doing so again. The slump it is currently in seemed unfeasible at the time

“We see Maverick very delicate about his performance on the feeling, it’s very much related to the balance of the bike,” Rivola told TNT Sport during the 2024 Americas GP weekend. “More than other riders, but when we find that balance and find that window, now we can work on finding a larger window. I know it’s sounds strange.”

In many ways, Aprilia could afford to be more patient than Yamaha. At the time of his souring relationship, Yamaha had been a title contender the year before with Quartararo and was doing so again. The slump it is currently in seemed unfeasible at the time. Aprilia, by contrast, hadn’t even reached the podium with its RS-GP by the time Yamaha let Vinales go in Austria.

“Obviously the win with Aprilia has a different value because when I sign for them they were P15, P10, and looking how much we grew up this factory,” Vinales noted last Sunday after his Americas GP win. “Obviously, we are a big factory. Still, we need to 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 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 today, so we need to be very happy and very proud of the job we did. But obviously it’s more difficult what I did right now because we came from the back and today we are on top.”

Vinales backed up team-mate Espargaro in an Aprilia 1-2 at the Catalan GP last year, but had yet to show race-winning form until this season

Vinales backed up team-mate Espargaro in an Aprilia 1-2 at the Catalan GP last year, but had yet to show race-winning form until this season

Photo by: MotoGP

In 2022, Vinales scored three podiums on the RS-GP. Team-mate Aleix Espargaro scored a victory and five other rostrums. The gulf in the championship between the pair was 90 points. In 2023, Espargaro won twice while Vinales could only tally three podiums. This time, though, just two points separated the pair.

The progress, then, has been steady but Vinales has often failed to marry fast practice and qualifying speed with genuine race results. And as 2024 began, as Espargaro raved about the new Aprilia, Vinales admits he “had no confidence” on it from the very first laps in Malaysia in February.

Ninth in the sprint and 10th in the grand prix in Qatar spoke to his lack of confidence on the Aprilia. But from Portugal, the page started to turn. While the Algarve track has always been a good one for Vinales, his ride to sprint victory signalled a serious shift. And a podium was surely on offer in the Sunday race had it not been for the gearbox issue he later revealed was caused by a “human problem”, which led to him crashing out on the last lap.

Convinced he could be just as quick at the Circuit of the Americas last weekend, Vinales followed through. Pole with a new lap record, an emphatic sprint win and easily his best grand prix ride ever provided the proof.

There are two factors which made Vinales’ grand prix win stand out. The first was the fact this form came at a track that is typically weak for the RS-GP. While Vinales was strong at COTA in 2023, finishing fourth, the stop-and-go nature of the track is at odds with the Aprilia’s supreme ability to flow through corners. Indeed, looking at the sector times from Q2, Vinales was fastest through sector 2 (the esses section) and sector 4 (the sequence of fast rights at the end of the lap).

Secondly, Vinales nailed the start in the sprint as he keenly pointed out to the media that his complaints about Aprilia’s clutch in recent years was validated. But an issue in the grand prix mean his launch wasn’t as clean, while contact with Francesco Bagnaia at Turn 1 dropped him to 11th. Come lap 13, he was in the lead again and he would never lose it, getting to the chequered flag 1.7s in front of Tech3 rookie Pedro Acosta.

“In my favour is 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,” Vinales said, in what can be viewed as a shot across the bows of Yamaha. “But how I have the bike right now, how I can really over-brake all the time, it seems that of course 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 obviously you cannot always start and lead the race from the first corner. So, you must fight, and all these guys are braking late, fighting. And I am there also, so this is fantastic.”

Vinales was in peerless form at COTA and charged to victory despite a less-than ideal start

Vinales was in peerless form at COTA and charged to victory despite a less-than ideal start

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Once again, this all comes down to patience. Vinales’ form surge and his finding of the balance sweet spot on his Aprilia, he noted, is in large part down to the time taken for the rider and new crew chief Manu Cazeaux (who previously worked with Alex Rins at Suzuki) to gel in 2023.

“That belief and confidence came from last year,” he said, when asked about the doubts he has received in recent years. “It took one full year with my new crew chief to understand really the bike and what we needed. But it was worth it because since Qatar I’ve been always in the top, or I’ve been fighting for the top positions.

“Obviously when we changed to the new bike it was not easy, but in Portimao we understood well what we needed to do and now I feel very well with the bike. The thing is, when I can ride the bike with my own riding style and being effective, I’m really calm and confident. So, we need to always have a look to the balance, trying to always have the bike on this kind of balance to be able to push and do the best.”

«Every time it repeats, that phrase in my head, ‘never give up’ because hard work pays off and it’s paying off»
Maverick Vinales

Vinales running around in a batman cape, playing to the crowd in Austin with a smile beaming from ear to ear, is a sight MotoGP has seldom seen from the Spaniard since the Yamaha debacle. Motorsport.com reporter Oriol Puigdemont commented to Vinales after his sprint win that he looked like he did in his earliest Yamaha days in 2017 when he looked on course to be a title contender. Vinales felt in every way he is better.

“No, now I’m in a totally different level,” he said. “I wish I was feeling like now some years ago because I have the experience and physically, I feel so strong. This is the year I feel stronger physically speaking, I work a lot for it. I just feel that experience, strong, and the technique I have on the bike is matching together to do these results. That’s fantastic.

“Every time it repeats, that phrase in my head, ‘never give up’ because hard work pays off and it’s paying off. I’m extremely happy. Obviously, I’m doing a lot of effort and my family is doing a lot of effort.”

If there is one rider who embodies the mantra ‘never say die’, it’s Vinales. Many thought the switch to Aprilia was career suicide. And as the results didn’t justify its commitment to him, it was hard to view Vinales as anything other than being lucky to still have a factory ride.

After last Sunday, there isn’t a soul involved in MotoGP – this writer included – who isn’t more than happy to have been proved wrong. Perhaps now, the Vinales that we thought we’d got back in 2017 is finally here to stay…

Vinales has proven his doubters wrong, but can he continue his recent stellar form to recapture his early career momentum?

Vinales has proven his doubters wrong, but can he continue his recent stellar form to recapture his early career momentum?

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images



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Aprilia analysis of Vinales Portugal crash revealed «human problem»


The Spaniard scored a first win for Aprilia since joining the marque in 2021 in the sprint race three weeks ago in Portugal and was a factor in the fight for victory in the grand prix.

But a worsening gearbox issue, while he was running in second, led to him slowing down onto the final lap, before causing him to crash out seconds later at Turn 1.

Vinales says Aprilia’s analysis of the issue determined that it was caused by a human error, though would not elaborate further than that and says it won’t happen again.

“Of course, I talk with the team. Of course, I wanted to know what happened. Of course, I’m involved in everything I can improve for the team,” he said on Thursday ahead of the Americas Grand Prix.

“And basically, what is very important is that, more than it being a technical problem, it was a human problem.

“So, that’s very important. I cannot say more about it. That’s a good sign because we need to believe that our bike’s reliability is good.

“Of course, it’s something we always have in mind as something to improve, but we know we have a good package and we need to carry on the momentum.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“It’s more about something that never happens. It should never happen. But the important point is that it’s not mechanical. We are happy it’s not a technical problem. It should not happen again.”

While typically fast at the Algarve International Circuit on the RS-GP, Vinales believes he can carry that pace into the Circuit of the Americas, which he feels shares the same characteristics. 

“I think in every track we can be fast,” he noted.

“I think we must think like that. It’s true that to be at the level of Portimao, it’s complicated to be [like this] every weekend.

“But we will try. I don’t see any difference between Portimao and Austin: up and down [hill], fast corners, tight corners.

“It [the Aprilia] should work and I am very motivated to keep working and keep pushing.”

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The ‘real’ race debate sparked by Vinales’ historic MotoGP sprint win


Coming into the 2024 MotoGP season, three riders stood on the edge of making history: Vinales was one with Aprilia, Alex Rins with Yamaha and Jack Miller with KTM are the others.

All grand prix winners already with two manufacturers (Vinales with Suzuki and Yamaha; Rins with Suzuki and Honda; Miller with Honda and Ducati), a victory in 2024 would make them the first riders in the MotoGP era to have won with three different marques.

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Vinales’ first win on the Aprilia in the Portugal sprint effectively made him the record holder, but officially he isn’t.

When the sprint format was introduced last year, it was always billed as being counted separate to a grand prix win in the record books. And, understandably, this was bound to cause headaches.

Something all the more complicated about the sprint format is the reticence by many – including the championship – to even refer to it as a ‘race’.

Speaking to numerous paddock journalists last year, the consensus was that most in their weekend written content dedicate very few column inches to what happened in the sprint unless it had a major bearing on the grand prix and the championship at large.

Read over Autosport’s magazine reports for each grand prix and you’ll see how little the sprint is mentioned.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Vinales’ sprint win in Portugal, which marked several milestones – the aforementioned third win on different bikes, as well as his first for Aprilia and first since Qatar 2021 before his acrimonious Yamaha split – forced a change of tune in how the sprints are viewed by some.

For Vinales, he and his Aprilia team celebrated it as if it was a grand prix victory. As far as the Spaniard was concerned, the effort expended in a sprint is more than a grand prix, and the statistical standing of his victory means little.

“For me, no [it doesn’t make a difference] because at the end we race harder on the sprint than in the race,” he said. “Normally the sprint is where I struggle the most so to make a victory in the sprint is amazing.”

Other riders have taken different approaches to their sprint wins. Alex Marquez, who won the Saturday contests at Silverstone and in Malaysia, told Motorsport.com last year that his British GP sprint success “was a nice one, but it was a sprint race in the wet. I’m always realistic on that point, not [saying] ‘I won the race, I’m the best one’. No, I know it was a special situation.”

So, is a sprint win a real win?

Comparing a sprint race win to the countless grand prix victories that have come before it may seem somewhat disrespectful. Being the best over half a race surely can’t stack up to Valentino Rossi’s iconic victory over Jorge Lorenzo at Barcelona in 2009?

But what of the grands prix that have been decided on shortened distances? Is Jorge Martin’s Japanese Grand Prix victory last year in a race that was red-flagged after 13 laps less impressive than Francesco Bagnaia’s over a full distance two weeks later in Indonesia, when he inherited the lead after Martin crashed out?

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Grand prix racing is much safer nowadays than it was in the 1990s, for example, so should that sway opinion? What about the British GP wins between 1949 and 1976, when the event was staged at the Isle of Man TT?

Ultimately, the statistics define what is and isn’t a real race, but that does somewhat belie the effort that has gone into winning a sprint.

Toprak Razgatlioglu took a stunning World Superbike win in Barcelona last month in a sprint race, recreating Rossi’s last corner overtake on Lorenzo from 2009 on Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega. It was a stunning way to mark the Turkish rider’s first win on the BMW having moved from Yamaha for 2024, and will go down in history as one of the finest WSBK contests ever.

Does it matter that it was a race of only 10 laps?

When WSBK introduced its sprint race – known as the Superpole Race, as it partially decides the grid for Race 2, the second feature contest — for the 2019 season, it initially set out to count Superpole Race wins and feature race wins separately. That was abandoned after the opening round, with the 10-lap sprints official WSBK wins in the record books.

Perhaps, then, it’s time for MotoGP to embrace this and for the world to accept that whether a race is five laps or 50, the riders involved are pouring everything they have into both as if they counted just the same.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images



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Vinales explains Portugal MotoGP race-ending gearbox issue


The Aprilia rider came into Sunday’s 25-lap grand prix in Portugal as one of the favourites to fight for the victory, having won the sprint on Saturday.

Vinales was a factor in the victory battle from the off, breaking away from the rest of the field between eventual winner Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini behind him in third.

But from lap six Vinales started to suffer from a gear selection issue between fifth and sixth gear.

As he accelerated onto the pit straight to start the last lap, his Aprilia went into neutral as he tried to change to sixth gear, which led to his sudden slowing down while running in second.

Vinales then says the bike suddenly engaging second gear when he touched the accelerator after running off at Turn 1  led to him crashing out.

“Well after the uphill on the finish line I tried to put sixth but it didn’t go in,” he explained when asked what happened when he slowed onto the last lap.

“So, the bike goes into neutral and I hit the limiter.

“I just put out the leg to [warn] Bastianini to understand that I had some problems [and] to go away.

“I tried to put sixth, it didn’t go in, I go back to second and when I touched the gas it went in immediately and I highsided.”

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The issue largely affected him on the main straight, with Vinales reckoning he lost 0.2s every lap because of it.

While he implored his Aprilia team to improve reliability – having battled various bike issues late last season – he says he has to be happy with the speed he showed all weekend in Portugal. 

“I think we must be positive,” he said.

“I would say it’s not a disappointment, but I will say it as maybe a call of attention, trying to improve in some ways a little bit the reliability. 

“I really encourage all of the Aprilia technicians to improve on that area, especially if you want to fight for victories.

“After that I think it’s been amazing how when I get the correct balance I can go really fast on this bike.

“Despite the problems I had from lap six, from fifth to sixth gear sometimes it didn’t go in.

“So, I was keeping the rpms for so long and I was losing a lot on top speed. I was losing some tenths, but despite that I was able to do 1m38s and that was amazing.”

Vinales added that, even with the gearbox issue, he still believed he could fight with Pramac’s Martin for the win in the last laps.

“I thought all the race that I could fight for the victory, just the problem was every time the gearbox got worse and worse,” he noted.

“So, every time I was losing more and more on the main straight.

“I think I was losing 0.2s on the main straight and then I would recover all the gap again.

“Even with this problem I was in 1m38.8s. It was unbelievable because it could be 1m38.6s. I’m really happy.»

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