It’s true: Marc Marquez and his Honda were uncatchable in Austin, but Maverick Viñales and his factory M1 did well too.
It was already clear in practice: the number 25 rider had started the Texan weekend with the mind-set of one who – finally – wants to go for the win, or at least finish on the podium for the first time in this 2018 season.
After the second place time clinched in qualifying – which turned into pole position thanks to the penalty levied against Marquez – in the race, the team Movistar Spaniard displayed a riding style that had been seen already in the early Grand Prix races of last year and his style today even seemed like that brash rookie with Suzuki in 2016.
His first podium of the season, on the second step, is well deserved in his opinion: “These 20 points today are certainly important for me and for the team – Viñales said after the race – but, to be honest we still have a lot of things to improve. I am still happy with second place, which came after a race on a really slippery track: despite the poor grip, this is a nice second place.”
The secret of this result is technical, but also personal: “We improved the electronics on our M1 – he reveals – and its setup in general, but that’s not all. I felt like I was myself, feeling more relaxed and riding the way I know how. Team morale has also improved and I know that I can also improve. I am the Viñales from the beginning of last year. I tried to ride like I did in the early 2017 races and I succeeded.”
There is still work to be done for a victory and Maverick knows it: “We still have more work to do on the electronics – he explains – because we need another step forward. The Honda is still a step ahead, but the asphalt at Jerez might help us a bit. In qualifying we need to be ready and fast and I need to improve my starts.”
He is already thinking of the next Grand Prix.
“I can’t wait to get to Jerez to reconfirm the areas where we have made progress with our performance after our difficulties in Argentina. We will need to do a test before Jerez, but there won’t be much time available between one race and the next. We can give Honda a nice surprise in the upcoming races.”