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Maverick Vinales at the 2018 GP of Americas
NEWS

Viñales aiming to kick-on from COTA success

Apr 232018

Even a three-position grid penalty could not prevent Marc Marquez from running to a staggering sixth consecutive victory at the Circuit of Americas for the third round of the 2018 MotoGP season…but the lengthy and spectacular layout in Austin, USA was also a stage for a resurgent Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales. The Spaniard defied the attention of Andrea Iannone to walk the box for the first time this season and erase some of the frustrations with the set-up of his M1 that had prompted a trophy-less dry spell stretching back to the 2017 Australian Grand Prix.

“We are coming!” Maverick grinned; the levity in his expression present again and a welcome sight under the Texan cowboy hat from the MotoGP podium area. “We enjoyed this weekend so much, even if we are not yet at the max level…we were still strong. We improved since Argentina and we are understanding how to go fast on this 2018 bike.”

COTA might be one of the most visually stunning racetracks on the calendar but the acute physical and technical demands of the course – that was also dirty and bumpy for this sixth edition of the event – did not produce some of the delectable MotoGP action scenes that has become a gloriously consistent facet of the series. Marquez was again imperious and Viñales was one of many struggling to keep up. #25 was still excited by his efforts and progress. “I was missing some areas [of set-up] in Argentina and we really improved there,” he said. “If you are missing something on a bike the rider cannot push as he wants and the changes we made allowed me to do that and get some confidence.”

 

When prompted for more details on the work the Yamaha team had done in the two short weeks since round two in South America Maverick pointed to electronics and also a more potent Yamaha. “We needed more power in the beginning [of the race] and be more aggressive,” he revealed. “I couldn't do that in pre-season and be my own style. With this new bike it seems to work. It is important to see how it will be in Europe.”

Championship leader Cal Crutchlow didn't have the happiest of races. The Brit had trouble turning his LCR Honda and slide out of the final turn on lap eight. #35 was able to remount but finished outside of the points.

 

Moto2 spoils was pocketed by Pecco Bagnaia for the second time this season. The Italian was banging his fist on the tank of the Sky Italia VR46 Kalex in frustration in Argentina but the exciting racer was caressing his motorcycle once more after winning a close battle with Alex Marquez and in the wake of a big crash in the first session. “I was not 100% but when I saw Alex was losing some grip I pushed hard and could then make a gap: this was really nice because this track has always been so difficult for me…it doesn't suit my style so much, but I’m improving and I’m happy with my work done.”

 

Qatar, Argentina and the USA are in the bag. MotoGP can now focus on the European phase of the calendar with the Grand Prix of Spain up first around the historic curves of the Jerez circuit at the southern tip of the peninsula.

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