“My best year is yet to come”

Many are the pilots who indicate Phillip Island as their favorite circuit and in the case of Maverick Vinales (Figueres, 27 years old) is reflected with good performances from the past and with a permanent smile every time he gets off the bike, so it was the perfect setting to have an in-depth interview with the Aprilia rider.

-Why is it so irregular?

-In what sense?

-In the results. He struggled to get on the podium with Aprilia and, when he did, three in four races, then he was thirteenth and twice ninth. Why is he not a fixture in the top positions now?

-There are many variables.

– Well, count, count. That there is desire to see him win with the Aprilia…

-At the beginning of the year, it is difficult to adapt to a new bike. It is very difficult to be regular, because one weekend I am better at a track or the settings and I’m practically in front of the entrance. In the middle of the season, I did manage to have very similar sensations from one circuit to another and the competitive level of the bike was very good, so it was easy for me to always be among the first. Then, arriving in Aragón, I had engine problems all weekend and that made me start on the fifth row, but in the race I had the pace to be on the podium. We realized in warm-up, very late, that there was a problem with the engine, and I was able to come back, but not do the race that I would have liked to do. In Japan, I was happy with qualifying and then in the race we put a tire that didn’t work well, the medium one. With the soft he could have been fighting for the podium. And Thailand was a super difficult weekend. They changed the tires and we were drifting all weekend. Luckily, it rained during the race and we came out on top. The bike didn’t work well with those tires and that’s it. I don’t see myself as irregular, but many factors come together: driver, team, tires, good choices, a good training plan… There are many things. It would be irregular if everything was always the same and the results varied.

-How clear it is.

-It is that MotoGP has become very competitive and a team effort, and there are eight Ducati that, as long as the weekend goes well, you have eight in front of you and that prevents you from always being ahead and fighting. It is not a matter of inspiration. You have to balance everything to be ahead and come out ahead, that changes everything.

-Although the results are not yet what is expected of you, you look super happy in Aprilia, which does not mean that from time to time you see him angry in the box, making gestures…

-It is important to maintain ambition and character, which is what makes you improve. Always with good manners and respecting everyone in the team and the brand, but sometimes you have to push and say what’s going on here.

“With good manners and respecting the team and the brand, sometimes you have to push and say what’s going on here”

Maverick Vinales

– A fist on the table?

-I wouldn’t say it like that but to motivate them and make them see what I come here to win. You have to work and work. Sometimes it’s good to squeeze them during the season, just like they squeeze you. That is a very good game with the team to never be satisfied. And it is that here everyone improves every day.

-And what about how happy he looks?

-I feel calm. I am at peace and I am well, very happy. I come to the races enjoying myself a lot. I have a lot of motivation. I feel very complete and at home they complement me in every way Raquel and Nina (his wife and daughter), but then in the GP I also feel fulfilled. It is clear that we still need to win and fight for the title, but it is something that will come with work, patience and a good understanding of the bike. This Aprilia has a lot of potential, but you have to understand it well.

-The case of Griezmann, giving up more money from Barcelona to continue at Atleti, reminds me of his case and the departure of Yamaha. Is happiness really more important than money even at this level?

-Whoever says that money is not important, is lying, because it is very important. It is super important, and more in the days we live, in which you have to pay even to breathe. It is important for the safety and tranquility of your family, but it is something that I do not prioritize. I have been lucky that my career has gone well. I have been smart, I have been able to save well and make good investments. It gives me peace of mind to know that if I ride a motorcycle it is not for money but for honor, principles or values. That makes me happier, because when I made the change I didn’t do it to be happy but in the sense of competition, to reach my best moment, to exploit my full potential. And I think my best year is yet to come. Every day I am more convinced of it.

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-The other day Zarco was Bagnaia’s perfect bodyguard…

-I saw it, I saw it, and I think I could have won the race.

-Would you do the same for Aleix in the remaining races?

-Of course, and it is not a matter of doing it for Aleix, it is because we are in Aprilia. I would do it for both of us, because I like Aleix and I have a lot of affection for him, but we are a team and we work for a brand, and I want that brand to win. Being selfish, I prefer to win myself, but I would be very happy if the brand achieved that with my incorporation. Aprilia has improved a lot in a year and that makes me happy and fulfills me a lot.

-What would I do if I were Aleix?

-Enjoy, drive and not think too much. Of the top three, Aleix has the best position there is. He is the one who chases, he has less pressure, he manages it well and he has me. (Series).

-And at Phillip Island, where he won in 2018 and had a tremendous duel with Márquez in 2019 until he crashed on the last lap. Does the memory of the victory or the fall weigh more heavily?

-I have a good idyll with all the circuits and Phillip Island is a circuit that is driven a lot with gas. Traction, coming out of the curve, turning the bike skidding and all those details I’m very good at. Then, here it depends on what you want to push, because it’s cold, with quick braking, a lot of angle at top speed and it’s fun for me to go to that limit.

“In Phillip Island there is a lot of gas driving. Traction, coming out of the curve, turning the bike skidding and all those details I’m very good at “

Maverick Vinales

-How much are you willing to risk this weekend?

-Full. Everything and from the first moment.

-Tell me if the victory of 2018 or the fall of 2019 weighs more on your memory here.

-It is clear that the victory is impressive, but getting it in Phillip Island, even more so. I have achieved a few and that of 2018 was very nice, but I have better memories of 2019, despite the end, with the crash, but the third was about fifteen seconds away. I didn’t expect Marc to be there with me, because during the weekend he wasn’t there, but he managed it well and took advantage of the engine that the Honda had to pass me on the last lap. It was fun and I drove great all weekend.

-How do you see Márquez in this comeback?

-I see him well, strong, and he will be there, of course. And hopefully, because I want us all to be there, to the fullest. I see the Aprilia with a lot of potential even in the water. I had never gone like this in water and it gives me extra peace of mind in case it rains here.

-Who would you bet on between Quartararo and Pecco?

-I’m not betting, but here it has always been difficult for Ducati and the Yamaha is doing very well. It will depend on the nerves of each one. I bet on Pecco, because he has seven more Ducati and not because they won’t happen to him but because of the data they provide him. He can be focused on his own and then take everyone’s information and arrive at the race with the bike ready. That can be an extra.

-Why do you have so much faith in him, Rivola, the boss of Aprilia?

-He sees that my potential is not yet fully exploited and he makes me see it. Except for Aleix, no one has managed to do anything with the Aprilia and I’m fighting. I look very strong and I know I will have my chance. When I can make a bike for myself, it will be a weekend and another one that is also fun and fighting ahead.

-That’s fighting for the title. For next year?

-I hope so. I don’t have to do anything very different from what I did in Assen and Silverstone. From mid-season to now, he would be fourth in the championship, and with plenty of mistakes. You have to fine-tune everything, have a good plan for the weekend and go for it. We have everything to succeed.

-So be it.

-Of course.

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