Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK IN MCN - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Mav­er­ick Viñales walked away from the Amer­i­can Grand Prix un­con­cerned by crash­ing out of con­tention for the race win. A strong week­end’s per­for­mance up to the sec­ond-lap crash has left the Mo­vis­tar Yamaha rider con­fi­dent that when the 2017 Mo­togp cham­pi­onship re­turns to Europe, he can be just as strong as he was in the open­ing rounds.

The Spa­niard’s week­end had been go­ing well, as he be­came the first per­son in five sea­sons able to take the fight to Marc Mar­quez. It’s a track that Mar­quez has made his own since tak­ing his first Mo­togp win back in 2013.

Viñales is adamant that if things had gone his way, he’d have been able to bat­tle with Mar­quez.

“In warm-up and through the week­end, I was feel­ing con­fi­dent and I was ready to at­tack at the end. I was on the medium tyre and I knew that it would work well. But that’s the sit­u­a­tion, and now we have to for­get about what hap­pened and pre­tend the cham­pi­onship starts over again in Jerez. We know we can win races.

“It would have been a race be­tween Marc and I, for sure. The lap times didn’t get that fast – he knew I was out and was in­tel­li­gent and didn’t push. But Marc and I had been rid­ing at a dif­fer­ent pace this week­end, and I know that we would have fought to­gether – but he’s still be­hind me in the cham­pi­onship!”

Viñales added that he will go into Jerez fight­ing hard to re­gain points and the cham­pi­onship lead.

And de­spite Viñales suf­fer­ing a crash caused by an un­known fac­tor, which has the po­ten­tial to knock any rider’s con­fi­dence, the ul­tra-cool 22-year-old was unfazed by the tum­ble.

“I don’t know what hap­pened! We’ve checked ev­ery­thing and it was the same speed as the morn­ing, the same litres in the tank, ev­ery­thing. It was a strange crash, but these things hap­pen some­times – it hap­pened to Marc in Ar­gentina.

“Last year in 18 races I crashed in only one race –and that was wet. That’s why it feels strange be­cause I’ve never had a crash like that be­fore in my whole ca­reer. But I’m calm be­cause I know it wasn’t my mis­take – there was some­thing more. We have to for­get about ut and to go ahead in a good way.”

Hav­ing ruled out other fac­tors, he and his team might sus­pect that the front Miche­lin tyre might have played a role, but Viñales was quick to take the blame off the French firm.

“Miche­lin are do­ing the best they can – they al­ways do their best and give us the best tyres they can. I didn’t have the same grip as in the morn­ing, but on paper it was my fault and the tyres worked well for the rest of the week­end. Maybe there was some­thing wrong with the front, but I don’t know for sure.”

De­spite the blow to his ti­tle chances, Viñales still goes back to Europe in a strong po­si­tion. Head­ing to Jerez and a strong Yamaha track, he still main­tains a big cham­pi­onship lead over Mar­quez – and an op­por­tu­nity for his first home win that he’ll be keen not to squan­der.

‘Marc and I could have fought to­gether but I am still ahead in the cham­pi­onship’ MAV­ER­ICK VIÑALES

Mar­quez has ended Viñales’ winning streak

Viñales had the pace but it wasn’t to be

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