Vinales “the happiest man in the world” after Aprilia MotoGP podium breakthrough

Maverick Vinales says he is “the happiest man in the world” after scoring his first Aprilia MotoGP podium at the Dutch Grand Prix exactly as year after his Yamaha split.

Vinales “the happiest man in the world” after Aprilia MotoGP podium breakthrough

On the Monday after finishing second at the 2021 Dutch GP, Vinales announced he would be quitting Yamaha a year into his two-year contract and was heavily linked to Aprilia.

At the 2022 Dutch GP last weekend, Vinales scored his first MotoGP podium as an Aprilia rider and his first since the 2021 Assen race having come from 11th on the grid.

Vinales in recent races has started to show stronger form on the RS-GP as his adaptation progress continues, with a potential first podium for the Italian marque robbed from him in Germany when he was forced to retire out of fourth place with a broken ride height system.

Asked how his Aprilia breakthrough made him feel given the wider context of it, Vinales said: “A lot has happened but right now I am the happiest man in the world.

“I can’t ask for anything more, I have a very competitive bike, a very good group, a completely nice factory that Aprilia is behind myself, pushing me every day.

“I have a beautiful family. So, I cannot ask for anything more.

“I have everything I always dreamed about and I’m ready to push.

“I’m ready to go on top, so I will push every day and I will make myself even stronger.

“It’s not easy because right now the competition in MotoGP is very strong, but I know what I’m able to do.

“So, I will push, push, push and see where I find myself in the last race of the year.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team, Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team podium

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team, Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team podium

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Vinales admits he still has to improve his qualifying performance to give himself better chances in races, having only managed one to qualify inside the top six once so far in 2022.

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“You know, it’s a consequence of the hard work and not giving up every day,” he added.

“The thing that we know is many races ago I was very strong.

“I remember Austin I was very strong, but I started in 15th place and I could not make that up in the race.

“Mugello we were coming very strong, Montmelo, Sachsenring.

“I just somehow feel that my potential is to be in the front, but I need to improve the qualifying because, ok, in this race I did an amazing first lap, and I’m quickly in front.

“But somehow I feel my potential can be much higher if I start in front or second row.

“So, our main objective in the second half of the season is to improve the qualifying because on the [race] rhythm we are quite strong, and that’s the only key.”

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