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Vinales calls luckless first half of MotoGP 2023 "a nightmare"

Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales says his luckless start to the 2023 MotoGP season has been “a nightmare”, but feels “we have a lot of potential” for the coming races.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

After eight rounds of the 2022 season, Aprilia had scored a grand prix victory and four other podiums courtesy of Aleix Espargaro.

At the same point in 2023, Aprilia has just two rostrums to its credit, with Vinales second in the season-opening Portuguese GP and Espargaro inheriting third at the Dutch GP following a track limits penalty for Brad Binder.

Vinales sits 12th in the standings on 56 points having crashed out of the Dutch GP, while an engine issue caused him problems in France, Italy and Germany.

Despite this, Vinales believes he and Aprilia have pace enough to fight at the front of the field when everything comes together, but notes its qualifying form has to improve having only started from the top six twice so far.

“I hope in the second half of the season we have the wind at our backs because we are all the time running into the wind,” Vinales said.

“It’s a nightmare, but we recovered well. We are strong, mentally we are very strong.

“We have a lot of potential. In Le Mans, problem, in Jerez I broke [down], in Austin yellow flags [hindered me in qualifying].

“It can happen. This is not in our hands, but in our hands is to make a bike that is better on one lap and this is what we are going to try to do.”

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Asked if Aprilia has enough in hand to challenge the all-conquering Ducati, the marque having won all but one grand prix and two sprints in 2023, Vinales added: “Calm down a bit.

“I mean, when we take out the maximum of our bike we are able to fight in the front.

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“We need to stay calm, feet on the ground, Assen is a special track, [then] we’re going to arrive to Silverstone.

“[We need to take it] day by day, taking out the maximum, understanding what we need to do in qualifying with the tyres because I think still we are far from our best, and keep it calm, keep it simple.”

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