Step by step, Maverick Viñales and Aprilia are starting to get to know each other. The first races last year had been something of a blind date but, race after race, the spark that could lead to a happy future together seems to have ignited. The good results in Malaysia were also due to the many days of testing at Sepang, thanks to the concessions, but there are no tricks in Mandalika, and the Spanish rider's 3rd place today is a good omen.
But Maverick is the first to keep his feet firmly on the ground.
" I still don't feel great. I have to keep working, and it’ll take time,” he stated. “I feel the potential of the bike, but I still can't push as much as I’d like to. I worked with worn tires today. My pace was fast but still not fast enough. I know I can give more. I'm missing another three tenths."
Riding on an Indonesian track, with only a clean trajectory, didn’t make things easier, even if Maverick sees the glass half full.
“The downside is that you can't make mistakes. The upside is that it forces you to be precise,” he said. “ Of course, it's not easy, because I'm still getting to know the bike, and it's hard to say where I am at this moment."
Also, since they're only tests and, in the race, when you ride in a group, many things could change.
" The Aprilia in close combat seems fine to me. It allows you to brake hard,” he continued. “If anything, I'm still not able to ride it at my best, and the goal for tomorrow is to progress a little more. For example, I like to drift the bike, but the electronics of the RS-GP work really well and won't let me. I have to keep working to be able to use my style. When I do, it’ll be easier.”