Vinales: Not fighting for Qatar MotoGP win would be 'my fault'

Maverick Vinales admits he would have to "make a big mistake" to not be fighting for victory in MotoGP's season opener in Qatar on Sunday

Vinales: Not fighting for Qatar MotoGP win would be 'my fault'

Signed by Yamaha to replace Ducati recruit Jorge Lorenzo, Vinales topped all four official MotoGP tests since starting with the team last November, and is considered the title favourite by many.

Can Yamaha's new star topple Marquez?

The 22-year-old carried that form into the season proper on Thursday, when he led the way in first practice for the Qatar Grand Prix by 0.596 seconds.

Vinales accepts that what happens during Sunday's 22-lap race rests on his shoulders, given the pace his Yamaha has.

"Not fighting for victory on Sunday would be disappointing," he said.

"I would have to make a big mistake. The bike is perfect and if I'm not fighting to win it would be my fault.

"In the end winning or not depends on many things, but not being fighting for victory would mean that I have not given my 100%."

Vinales led the way for the bulk of the first practice session, and set two laps on his final run good enough to finish ahead of his closest challenger, world champion Marc Marquez.

The Yamaha rider was also buoyed by his pace on earlier runs during the 45 minutes.

"I put one [soft rear] tyre in and did my best," he said.

"And when I do my best on that bike I can go really fast. I did many laps in [1m]55s, with the race tyre, so that's great. I feel comfortable on the bike.

"When you have confidence in the front like this, you can push.

"We still have to work on the electronics a little bit, I think in some places we have too much power, and I improved a lot with my riding style in sector two.

"That was important for me, because in the test I was not so fast there. Happy for that.

"I pushed 100% today, and I'll do it again tomorrow and the next day.

"I'm the rider who always pushes."

shares
comments
Bradley Smith not surprised KTM starting 2017 MotoGP season at back
Previous article

Bradley Smith not surprised KTM starting 2017 MotoGP season at back

Next article

MotoGP form of Vinales could prompt '17 Rossi exit, Schwantz feels

MotoGP form of Vinales could prompt '17 Rossi exit, Schwantz feels
The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him Plus

The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him

Prior to the summer break, the 2022 MotoGP title looked like it was Fabio Quartararo’s to lose. But a crash at Assen and the consequential penalty he had to serve last weekend at Silverstone stopped him from capitalising on a main rival’s injury woes, while a resurgence from another, plus the rise of a former team-mate, look set to conspire against the Yamaha rider

MotoGP
Aug 8, 2022
Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time Plus

Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time

On the eve of the British Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP after September’s San Marino GP. The timing of his departure raised eyebrows, but his reasoning remains sensible and what has happened this year should not diminish a hard-built legacy

MotoGP
Aug 6, 2022
Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge Plus

Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge

Alex Rins’ MotoGP future was plunged into sudden doubt when Suzuki elected to quit the series at the end of 2022. Securing a deal with Honda to join LCR, he will now tread a path that many have fallen off from. But it was a move he felt his status deserved, and it’s a challenge – he tells Autosport - he faces with his eyes wide open…

MotoGP
Jul 27, 2022
How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature Plus

How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature

The hiring of technicians from Formula 1 has clearly contributed to a recent change in the MotoGP landscape, with the role of engineers gaining greater significance relative to the riders. Here's how this shift has come about

MotoGP
Jul 19, 2022
The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader Plus

The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader

Coinciding with the arrival of Massimo Rivola as head of its MotoGP division, Aprilia has undergone an internal revolution that has spurred it from occupying last place in the team standings to leading the table in the space of just two years. Those entrenched in the project reveal how the ex-Ferrari F1 chief has achieved the dramatic turnaround

MotoGP
Jul 15, 2022
The battle Yamaha's wayward son is fighting to be fast again in MotoGP Plus

The battle Yamaha's wayward son is fighting to be fast again in MotoGP

Franco Morbidelli was long overdue a promotion to factory machinery when it finally came late last year, having finished runner-up in the 2020 standings on an old Yamaha package. But since then the Italian has been a shadow of his former self as he toils to adapt to the 2022 M1, and recognises that he needs to change his style to be quick on it

MotoGP
Jul 13, 2022
Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era Plus

Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era

The once all-conquering Japanese manufacturers are going through a difficult period in MotoGP this season. With Suzuki quitting, Honda struggling to get near the podium and Yamaha only enjoying success courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, Japanese manufacturers have been left in the dust by their European counterparts. Key paddock figures explain why.

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2022
Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star? Plus

Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star?

Valentino Rossi’s protégés stole the show at Assen as Francesco Bagnaia stormed to victory to arrest a recent barren run. But it was the rider in second, on Bagnaia’s old bike, who had all eyes on him. Securing his and the VR46 team’s first MotoGP podium, Marco Bezzecchi has all the characteristics that made his mentor special

MotoGP
Jun 27, 2022