MOTOGP VIÑALES IS HUMAN AFTER ALL
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
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