MAVERICK TOP GUN BRIT GP WEEKEND SPECIAL
| VIÑALES VICTORY | Suzuki rider untouchable on way to maiden Motogp win
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!”
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’