MAV­ER­ICK TOP GUN BRIT GP WEEK­END SPE­CIAL

| VIÑALES VIC­TORY | Suzuki rider un­touch­able on way to maiden Mo­togp win

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - AT SIL­VER­STONE MO­TOGP REPORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com 12-PAGE

Mav­er­ick Viñales took a stun­ning vic­tory in the Bri­tish Grand Prix to se­cure his first win and Suzuki’s first premier class glory since Chris Ver­meulen in 2007.

And not only did he win, but he did it in com­mand­ing style, break­ing clear of the pack to con­trol the 19-lap race with seem­ing ease from the front.

And once he got clear of the crazy bat­tle for sec­ond place rag­ing be­hind him, the 21-year-old never looked back, ex­tend­ing his lead in the early stages of the race then sim­ply main­tain­ing it un­til the che­quered flag to win from Cal Crutchlow by nearly four sec­onds.

In fact, so good was Viñales’ pace in the sec­ond part of the race that he ad­mit­ted af­ter­wards that his big­gest en­emy in the clos­ing stages wasn’t his ri­vals but him­self.

“It was so dif­fi­cult to keep con­cen­tra­tion,” ad­mit­ted Viñales af­ter the race. “Be­cause when you’ve got some rid­ers to race with, the laps pass so quickly. But when you’re at the front, with just a few laps to make your dream come true, it’s hard to keep con­cen­tra­tion. With four laps to the end I wasn’t try­ing to take any risks though, just to fin­ish it!”

And af­ter the race the Spa­niard – set­ting a premier class record as the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive dif­fer­ent win­ner so far this year – ad­mit­ted that the enor­mity of the win for both him­self and the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer had only just started to sink in.

“It is an awe­some feel­ing. I felt great – I pushed from the first cor­ner and I was able to break away. There are so many good rid­ers here, and to be able to win a race is such a good feel­ing.

“When you see Valentino to the side of you on the podium it means a lot. It means you’re ahead of the great­est and it feels so good. At the mo­ment he has nine cham­pi­onships, so I can’t say I’m bet­ter than him yet, but I know that we have the po­ten­tial to be at the front for the rest of the year.”

Mak­ing the most of the high cor­ner speed of the Suzuki and its abil­ity to ab­sorb Sil­ver­stone’s no­to­ri­ous bumps (caused by the brak­ing force of For­mula One cars rip­pling the as­phalt), Viñales was able to show just how strong a pack­age the GSX-RR has be­come since he first stepped onto it 18 months ago.

But de­spite that, he re­mains in­sis­tent that he’s not re­gret­ting the de­ci­sion to de­fect to Yamaha at the end of the sea­son to in­stead be­come Valentino Rossi’s team-mate.

“Hon­estly, it didn’t change my mind. When I make a de­ci­sion, I go with it 100%. But I didn’t think that this year I could win – I’ve just been think­ing about next year and be­ing able to do it then. I owe it to the team, be­cause they work so hard, and to do it be­fore I leave Suzuki is one of the best things I could have done for them.”

‘Win­ning won’t change his con­fi­dence’

One per­son close to Mav­er­ick Viñales who knows just how im­por­tant a win can be is girl­friend Kiara Fon­tanesi, her­self no stranger to some suc­cess as a four-time FIM Women’s Mo­tocross world cham­pion.

Speak­ing to MCN af­ter the race, the Ital­ian said that while the win is good for her other half, she doesn’t ex­pect it to have much of an ef­fect on the al­ready ul­tra-mo­ti­vated 21-year-old’s fu­ture suc­cesses.

“He tried many times this year to win but never had ev­ery­thing set up just right to take the vic­tory. But to win his first race like this is just in­cred­i­ble, es­pe­cially af­ter the restart and be­ing able to build such a gap to sec­ond place. But it won’t change his con­fi­dence – he’ll still take the chance like he al­ways has this year!”

CHRIS VER­MEULEN

started to get ner­vous for him. I didn’t want him to make a mis­take be­cause I knew ev­ery­one would come down hard on him if he blew this chance. The up­side is the con­fi­dence boost this win will bring to Mav­er­ick as a rider, the team and fac­tory guys back at Ha­ma­matsu.

“When Suzuki left Mo­togp for a few years that was a huge de­ci­sion but I know it was an even big­ger de­ci­sion for them to com­mit the re­sources and money to come back know­ing they had to do it at a high level to win again.

“So I couldn’t be hap­pier that Mav­er­ick and Suzuki took my name out of the record books at Sil­ver­stone.”

‘Ev­ery­one would come down hard on him if he blew this chance’

At points in the race Viñales had a four­sec­ond lead over ri­vals High times for the Suzuki squad as they cel­e­brate first win in nine years Third-placed Rossi con­grat­u­lates his 2017 team-mate

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