Vinales: You have to be “crazy” fighting Ducati MotoGP riders

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales says “you have to be crazy sometimes” when fighting Ducati MotoGP riders following last Sunday’s Doha Grand Prix.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Vinales backed up his Qatar GP victory with a fifth-place finish in the Doha race having had to recover from 11th in the opening stages due to a poor start.

He had similarly strong pace to that of race-winning team-mate Fabio Quartararo as he carved through the pack, but a mistake fighting with Pramac’s Jorge Martin in the closing stages cost him a podium and dropped him behind Suzuki’s Alex Rins.

Vinales admits he “asked too much” of his Yamaha in the final laps as he was going “mad” to try to get to the podium.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I think we did a really good two results and we go home very happy about these results,” Vinales said, leaving Qatar four points off championship leader Johann Zarco.

“I was pushing a lot the bike, the last three laps I was mad, I was going for it.

“I asked too much from the bike, so next time I will try to be more gentle, to try to take out the maximum in case I need to fight back.

“But to fight with the Ducatis, you have to be aggressive, you have to be crazy sometimes.

“And it’s what I tried to do, but I didn’t get the reference of where Jorge was braking and I braked too late and I was really on him, and to avoid touching him I went a little bit straight and it’s there I lost the podium.

“But overall, I’m happy because the potential is there, I feel great, I feel the team is working on a correct way and now it’s my time to improve.”

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Vinales worked all winter on his starts, but admits in the Doha GP his reaction time left him down and he almost lost the front end when he had a small wheelie off the line.

“Well, on the start the problem is first of all reaction time, I was too slow,” he explained.

“After that I got a little bit of wheely and I nearly lose the front.

“On the start I saw I got smoke from the front tyre. It is true I didn’t have the same potential in the first race, it’s true I didn’t have the same amount of grip.

“But even from that, I was able to close the gap and come back.

“For sure on the first lap, when I saw myself in 11th I said ‘ok, save the tyre and you will come back strong’ and it’s what I did.

“I went straight away to one [engine map] switch without power, and in the end I was strong.

“I was able to go 1m54s high, 1m55s low and this was making the difference.

“But I think the race was good, we fight back which is the most important thing.

“Let’s say today was a bad day and we made P5, so this is really important.”

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