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MotoGP, Viñales: "Not a disappointment, but a chance to improve reliability"

"The broken gearbox? Luckily, it happened on the straight. Portimão is dangerous. We have a good balance, and the Aprilia is fast on every circuit. The victory was within my reach."

MotoGP: Viñales:

The Portimão weekend was a bitter disappointment for Aprilia and Maverick Viñales. The Spanish rider - whose qualification placed him in the front row at the start, alongside Bastianini - had imposed himself in the leading group of the race from the first corner, chasing a Jorge Martin who dictated the race pace today. A race spent, corner after corner, trying to file away tenths after tenths in an attempt to make up ground on his fellow countryman, while defending himself from Enea'a attacks, who's also a master in tire management.

It seemed like an assured podium, maybe even a victory, but the fairy tale came to an abrupt end for the Top Gun from Noale, who was betrayed by how his bike changed on the straight, just a step away from the end of the competition. "It was fortunate that it happened there and not somewhere else," he later told reporters. But, despite the zero and a withhdrawl that weighed heavily after his excellent performance, Maverick once again positively emphasized the progress  made in developing this Aprilia.

There was definitely lots of speed today.
"We finished the weekend," Maverick said. "Overall, I think we have to stay positive. I won't say it was a disappointment, but I think it can be an opportunity to improve the reliability of the bike. I encourage all the Aprilia technicians to work on that aspect. I think it's important, if you want to face every weekend, especially if you're fighting for the win. Looking at the race as a whole, though, we've achieved the right balance. And, with that, we're able to be fast. Notwithstanding the problems, every now and then, I was having a hard time shifting from fifth to sixth gear, and that was causing me to lose a few tenths in top speed. But I was still able to stay on the 1'38", and that's good. To be this competitive, we have to stay within these parameters. So I renew my encouragement to Aprilia, The upcoming rounds will be fantastic, especially for me. So we have to be satisfied with how we handled the weekend here in Portimão."

The Spanish then goes into detail about his technical failure on the straight.
"After broke away on the way to the finish line, I tried to shift into sixth, and it wouldn't go. So the bike went into neutral and touched the limiter. I pulled my leg out to let Enea know I had a problem, and then tried again to shift into sixth. It wouldn't go. I downshifted to second and, when I opened the throttle, it quickly shifted, and I did a highside. Fortunately, the gearbox broke at that point, because this can be a dangerous circuit."

What did you think at that moment?
"These are things that can happen. Of course, it's best if it happens when you're leading in a race than when you're tenth. It can happen though. I feel that, if we raced again, I could win the race. Physically, I'm fine," he said reassuringly. "And we have three weeks before Austin to recover. It's a shame because, if I could, I'd race tomorrow, as well. But I think these three weeks will be very useful for the team to examine the data well. The good thing is that, by keeping this set-up within these parameters, we're competitive on every circuit, regardless of the conditions. Compared to Qatar and the tests, we've taken a big step forward."

Before the problem, was the victory still within reach?
"I thought so throughout the race, Unfortunately, the difficulty in changing on the straight got worse from lap to lap, and I was always losing something. I think I was losing two tenths on the straight on each pass and then making it up on the rest of the track, because the pace was really incredible. I was racing on a 1'38''8. Maybe, without that problem, I would've raced on a 1'38''6. This gives me a lot of confidence."


Translated by Leila Myftija

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