“Happy” Maverick Vinales feeling “very strong” on Aprilia | MotoGP
It only took a few runs for Maverick Vinales in Misano’s private practice this week to decide to race for Aprilia next weekend in Aragon.
After a year of roller coaster emotions – including winning the season opener in Qatar, finishing last at the Sachsenring, a finalist a week later in Assen then a two-part “divorce” from Yamaha on both sides. other from the summer break – the 26th – One year old called the Aprilia test “the happiest moments of my life”.
“Because after five years there [at Yamaha] having ups and downs and we didn’t get a lot of things, at the end you say ‘what’s going on?’ But as soon as I moved to Aprilia I know my potential, I know even more what I’m capable of, “said Vinales.
Race winner for both Suzuki (1) and Yamaha (8), the Spaniard admitted he was nervous before his first encounter with a V4 engine.
179 laps later (65 Tuesday, then 114 today) and Vinales had taken the RS-GP to a fastest lap of 1m32.4s, equaling what he had managed to win for Yamaha in the grand prize of the year last and 0.8s under the fastest Aprilia race lap.
“Honestly, I went [into the test] without waiting, because you never know how the bike will react, “said Vinales.” But I have to say I was a little nervous because I had never tried another [V4] motor.
“I used to ride bikes with an Inline 4 fitted, but was quite surprised to find that the way I adapted to the engine was pretty easy and that’s good. Basically the bike really has a [good] the handling of the engine, which is also very important for a long race.
“What I have to change is that the way of braking is a little different. It’s a big learning process because the way you can brake with Aprilia is totally different and for that I will need more turns.
“And also Aleix [Espargaro] is very hard braking and I will need to learn a little bit from him how he does that hard braking. But I think it will come with confidence. This is the important point. “
The level of ease with which Vinales felt on the Aprilia meant he wanted to run the RS-GP after only “three runs”. These debuts will therefore be in Aragon next weekend.
“It’s the best way to prepare for next year,” Vinales said. “Although maybe I’m not ready because it’s hard for the riding style to be one with the bike because I used to ride a completely different bike.
“But I think that in Aragon I will understand a little more, also riding with Aleix, he is fast so I can quickly learn how the bike works.
“But I feel strong. I feel very strong and that’s the good thing.
“Now I have the opportunity to do six races and it is much better than doing just five days of [winter] trial. I will try to prepare myself well, also with Aleix, the 2022 bike, which is very important to me. “
When Vinales signed for Aprilia, the RS-GP still hadn’t made it into the MotoGP top five. That all changed on Sunday when Espargaro celebrated an emotional third place in the British Grand Prix.
“The atmosphere is really strong and coming from a podium is also the best time to join the team and try to give them feedback,” said Vinales.
“Of course Aleix and Savadori did an amazing job because they go very fast and the bike runs well. I was quite surprised because the adaptation to the bike was quite quick.”
Initially negotiating to leave Yamaha at the end of this season, Aprilia’s early debut was only possible after the split that followed her suspension for engine over-revving in Austria.
But was Vinales surprised that Yamaha, under the conditions of separation, did not prevent him from racing for Aprilia until 2022?
“No, that’s right. Everyone should have the opportunity and leave it to the past,” he replied.
“After everything that happened, the only thing in mind was to keep riding, I won’t give up!” Vinales swore. “Until my goals are met, I will continue to move forward very hard.
“I’m going to push my hardest from the first lap in Aragon. I know my place at Aprilia for what it is, so I need to push so badly. I need to improve and I have to keep going.”
With Vinales alongside Espargaro, rookie Lorenzo Savadori will be transferred to tests and joker duties.