Maverick by name, not by nature
Viñales has been ultra-fast since his debut in Motogp in 2015, especially over one lap. But some have suggested that, with the pressure of fighting for a first title on the highlyrated Yamaha on his shoulders, his 2017 season could see him be fast, but inconsistent.
But the evidence suggests that won’t be the case. In 2016 he was one of the most consistent racers in Motogp. Over the course of the 18 rounds and 4459 miles he only crashed five times in on-track action: the only man to crash less was Rossi.
“I have the mentality that regularity can win the title. It’s important to always be on the podium and winning races, but it’s better to take home 16 points than zero. I always have that in mind, and sometimes at Suzuki I knew I could make the podium or crash trying, like at Aragon. I think a lot on the bike, and if you can do that it’s a good quality. Otherwise, sometimes you get hot on the bike, don’t understand the limit, and crash.
“With Aki Ajo [his former manager] I worked a lot on being relaxed on the bike, especially in Moto2, because I was always a little hotter there. We worked a lot on thinking, because it’s always important. If you can’t win, you have to learn to finish second.”
Making the right move
One of the major stories of the 2016 silly season was Viñales’ decision to make the move to Yamaha, with the ‘will he/won’t he’ drama stretching out over the course of the summer.
Yet despite what he admits was a torturous decision to make after the loyalty shown to him by Suzuki as they graduated him from Moto2 to the premiere class two seasons ago, Viñales believes he made the right call.
“Honestly, it was so difficult to make the decision. I wanted to somehow continue with Suzuki, because they trusted me and the bike was quite good. It wasn’t ready for the top, but it was able to make fourth or fifth place. But after thinking and thinking and following Valentino and Jorge on track – I knew I needed to make the move and try it. I had to take the opportunity and now I’m happy with my decision. Everything I was demanding at Suzuki, I got at Yamaha!
“I knew at Valencia that I had made the right choice to move, and having done some laps, talked with the team, I feel great now. I feel like I’m where I need to be.”
‘I have the mentality that regularity can win the title – always be on the podium’