Grand prix

Aragon MotoGP: Maverick Vinales: ‘I think we will fight for victory’, Jorge Martin missing ‘one or two tenths’ | MotoGP

After finishing outside the top ten in FP1 while team-mate Aleix Espargaro was fastest, Vinales sprung into action during the early stages of FP2 as he led the way from Francesco Bagnaia, who could take a fifth consecutive MotoGP victory this weekend. 

Ducati seems to have the edge after day-one as four of the top five riders were all aboard Ducati machinery, however, Vinales feels he and Aprilia have the required pace to challenge: “It is early but I think we will fight for the victory, for sure.  

“If we work well we will fight for the victory because the bike is working well, I’m feeling really motivated and I feel like I’m riding well on the track. We can accomplish an amazing result.”

‘I never felt that improvement before in my life’ – Vinales

Following a difficult start to his tenure at Aprilia, Vinales now appears to be a different rider every time he takes to the circuit. 

With his well-documented problems with Yamaha well and truly behind him, Vinales has begun to show the type of consistency that was lacking during his time with the Japanese manufacturer, something he believes has been largely helped by his new team.

“I never felt that improvement before in my life,” said Vinales when speaking about the turnaround since this time last year. “More than one second per lap in terms of rhythm. It’s amazing. 

“It’s huge the difference and also the feeling I have on the bike, the way I ride on the track, the confidence. Everything is better and with Aprilia I think we work in a fantastic way. 

“It’s just the beginning of our relationship, so I feel myself [being] very strong in the future. Very, very strong.”

While Vinales might be one of the most in-form riders on the grid currently, his home round didn’t get off to the greatest of starts following confusion at the end of FP1.

After seeing the message ‘box’ on his pit board, Vinales returned to pit lane thinking he was going to swap to new tyres, however, that was far from the case: “The last run when I went out the tyres were very used. The front was destroyed so I could not push. 

“When I saw box on the pit board I thought they [would] put new tyres. That’s why I went in. I was expecting to get new tyres but when I went in they said ‘no, no, no’. 

“It was just a shock because I was expecting to put new tyres. But it was good to keep the same tyres in the morning and then start new ones in the afternoon because the rhythm was completely different.” 

Martin ‘one of two tenths’ away from fighting for Aragon MotoGP victory 

Despite topping the opening day of practice at the Aragon MotoGP, Jorge Martin was not entirely pleased after claiming to be ‘one or two tenths from the victory’. 

“Well, it’s only Friday but for sure it’s better to be first than to be 15th, that’s for sure. But the feeling today wasn’t great,” said Martin. 

“In terms of pace I’m not far away, just one or two tenths away from the victory I feel. I need to improve the front and rear feeling a little bit. I’m not super confident. I hope to make a small step tomorrow.” 

A factor to consider for the race is tyre degradation which seems to be higher than previous years. 

In fact, Martin believes the tyre drop in Sunday’s race could be as bad as Barcelona, one of the most severe tracks when it comes to grip in the final stages of a race. 

Martin added: “I feel like it will be a managing race and the drop is amazing. It’s starting to be like Montmelo where the grip is just for one or two laps. 

“I think the rider that manages better the rear [tyre] will be the one that will win on Sunday.”

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