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Vinales clutch issue had Aprilia “worried” ahead of Americas MotoGP fightback

Maverick Vinales says he came into Sunday’s MotoGP Americas Grand Prix with a clutch issue that “worried” Aprilia before going on to take the victory.

Vinales scored his first grand prix win since 2021 on Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas, having taken victory in the sprint and also qualified on pole.

Previously leading from start to finish in the sprint, Vinales didn’t get the best of launches in the grand prix and was bumped down to 11th after contact at Turn 1.

But he fought his way back through the field to take the lead on lap 13 of 20 and got to the chequered flag 1.7 seconds clear of the field.

Vinales revealed after the race that he had a clutch issue from the morning warm-up that “worried” his Aprilia team which ultimately forced him into a fightback.

“Actually, this morning I had an issue with the clutch and the team was quite worried,” Vinales said on Sunday afternoon.

“So, they didn’t really want to touch anything. I had the same thing in the race, but I was not bad. I was second, third, so that was ok.

“But I saw Pecco [Bagnaia] enter and push me very wide. But because also Jorge [Martin] was on the inside, so that was a racing incident and after that I said ‘no, come on, no!’

“So, I kept concentrated, and I kept believing that I was able to do it.

A tough start for Vinales was compounded by first corner contact

A tough start for Vinales was compounded by first corner contact

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“The way I see I was recovering the gap so quick to the front guys, I said ‘one at a time man’.

“I did it and it was crazy. I was enjoying every single lap. Some riders overtook me again, but I braked late enough to make them go wide.”

Vinales’ first grand prix win as an Aprilia rider makes him the first competitor in the modern MotoGP era to have scored a victory with three different manufacturers.

In the history of MotoGP, only four other riders over the last 75 years had achieved that feat before him – the last being Loris Capirossi when he won for Ducati in 2003.

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Vinales said achieving this bit of history with Aprilia is “a dream” given the marque had only just scored its first podium prior to him joining late in 2021.

“To be honest, you are never looking at that but when you see it, it makes you feel very special because not many riders can do things like that,” he said of his new record.

“However, to arrive to the top with Aprilia… I don’t know, I think it’s a dream.

“It’s not the same as when you go to a team that’s already winning, you know the bike is fantastic.

“We arrived to Aprilia, Aleix [Espargaro] achieved two victories and then leaves a good bike and I’m taking this next step [with it].

“It’s so fantastic. I need to thank Aleix for the work he is doing and to Aprilia.”

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