MotoGP: “I was happy to be struggling on Friday” – Viñales
Maverick Viñales has said that he was “happy to be struggling on Friday” after taking his first win of the 2020 season, and his first since Assen 2019.
Viñales’ pace proved to the doubters that the Spaniard does still have the pace needed to fight for victories in the MotoGP World Championship. The Spanish rider has always struggled to turn his practice pace into a race-winning formula.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider enjoyed a dominant Sunday, although was helped on his way to his first win since Assen 2019 after Francesco Bagnaia crashed from the lead.
Speaking after the race, Viñales said: “Friday, I felt really bad, honestly, but somehow that situation gave us the opportunity to improve and to take us to the reality when the bike is on race setting. I was happy to be struggling on Friday because we improved a lot for Saturday and for Sunday, and I’m happy with the work the team is doing.
“Anyway, we need to keep the feet on the ground and understand we still need to improve more and more every race. But I’m very happy to be back on top,” he said.
The Spaniard continued: “we changed a lot the balance of the bike and I felt straight away much better under braking. I could take out all the potential we have on the bike for braking and corner speed. So, I increased the front confidence and I felt very good.
“I was very happy about [qualifying] yesterday because we did an exceptional lap, and today I can keep very consistent on the rhythm and especially at the start of the race I pushed quite hard to break the group and this is what remains in my head and makes me very happy.”
Viñales has failed to convert his Friday and Saturday pace into a good race result and has recently come under fire from the critics. The Yamaha man quickly silenced the haters on track before sending them a message in his Sunday evening debrief.
“Most of the people think it’s my mentality, but my mentality is exactly the same as the other weekends. I have that winning mentality and honestly, I didn’t find the confidence in the bike to push from the beginning.”
The 25-year-old currently lies third in the MotoGP World Championship, one point from championship leader Andrea Dovizioso, although his focus is on the next race in Catalunya. “I don’t think too much about the championship, I think about enjoying myself, to enjoy myself on the bike and to push the bike at the maximum.
“We need to prepare the bike really well for next year and this year every race we are learning something, because it is very important to be attentive and to learn for the next races.”
The Grand Prix of Catalunya kicks off on Friday 25th September with free practice one beginning at 09:55.