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MotoGP, Vinales: "In Aprilia they celebrated me like Yamaha did with Valentino."

"I felt their happiness in Austin, I felt inside me the importance of that victory. The future? That's taken care of by the people who work for me at home, I just think about giving my best on the track."

MotoGP: Vinales:

Maverick Vinales is probably the rider most at the center of everyone's attention as we approach the Jerez weekend. The perfect weekend in Austin propelled him to the top of the overall standings and obviously now it remains to be understood what is the potential of Aprilia's Top Gun, who has very often shown peaks of absolute competitiveness followed then by some almost inexplicable lows . However, with the RS-GP the Spaniard had also been very fast at Portimao, so many are convinced that Maverick has made that step necessary to be competitive throughout the season.

The union with Aprilia now seems mature enough to make Vinales a serious contender for the title, an achievement he has been chasing since 2015, the year of his MotoGP debut. For now Maverick has set an important record, becoming the first rider in the history of the top class (at least since there have been 4-stroke prototypes) able to win at least one GP with three different bikes. Another positive weekend in Jerez can only confirm the World Championship chances of a rider who is now also at the center of the market regarding 2025 and beyond.

"Repeating what I did in Austin would be a dream honestly, "Vinales commented, " But I have to be realistic, smart and I know that it will not always be possible to fight like I did in Austin. But the really important thing for me will not be to always fight for the maximum result, but rather to fight every single day of every race weekend at a high level, trying to do the best with our bike. Especially here in Jerez, because it's a track that the Spanish riders know very well, a track that the test teams also work a lot on. So I think it's a good challenge. We need to keep working hard and stay in the pack of those in front. I don't think our bike can suffer here, the important thing will be to stay at a high level, like in Portimao and Austin. Then there will also be an important test here on Monday and I know that will be crucial. If I can then fight for the win, I will only be happy."

Why do you think today's MotoGP bikes are so fast compared to last season?
"I think the tire technology has helped us be much faster this season, but also the aerodynamics of the bikes have made us make huge strides in that respect."

Changes were made in Jerez for safety, are you satisfied with them?
"They did an incredible job in Jerez and I think compared to 2023 we are actually not faster in the straights. I think it depends on aerodynamics, at least as far as our bike is concerned. For me the runways have increased compared to last year, I feel safe here, they did a great job."

What are your goals here in Jerez?
"Our focus of the weekend is to try not to lose too much in what are our weak areas, but at the same time try to make the most of our strengths. You could clearly see even on TV that in Portimao and also in Austin, in some places we had a really stable bike that allowed us to push really hard and take it to the limit. Right now in some types of corners we are stronger than our rivals, but they respond in other areas. If you look at Martìn for example, he is very strong in stop-and-go corners. One thing I'm trying to improve a lot in, I need to be more effective in the slow corners. That's one of my goals here in Jerez where there are several slow corners. The Aprilia is fast everywhere really today, our job is to try to exploit its potential. I try to understand very well what my rivals are doing in some points where they are more effective than me, because I think I can get a few more things out of our bike."

There is a lot of talk about your future, what can you tell us?
"It's too early to think about that today. I'm just trying to be at my best in every race, because I want to be stronger all the time. I'm not doing this because I want to be able to go elsewhere, but because I think as a team we can do even more, be even better. We can do big things, like in Austin. Thinking about what to change for the future is the job of the people who work for me from home, here I just think about working and doing the best I can on the track. There is a good challenge in this paddock, in Austin I wrote a small part of MotoGP history and I felt I did something special for Aprilia, I felt it inside. I felt the happiness for my victory in a way I had never felt it. I've seen it in the past for Valentino, but not when I won. I think it's a good sign, it means we are doing a good job. I'm in no hurry about my future, I'm here and I'm also observing what the other riders are doing. I'm 29 years old, I feel as strong as I ever have and I think I still have time. I just want to be here, focused on the present and be strong in what I do, I want to have fun."

What do you think has changed in your approach to racing over the years?
"In 2021 when I switched to Aprilia I started to think that things happen for a good reason and from that moment I started to believe a lot in this mentality, trying to always have a positive thought and I think I have grown a lot. Every day I prepare myself to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that come my way, like in Austin which is a very physically demanding track and on which I was able to make the last lap of the race as fast as the first laps. I wake up every day, I work, I train, I try to keep things simple. I try to enjoy this beautiful sport as much as possible, I think that's the key today to then be able to give my best on the track."

Will Jerez be special for you?
"The special thing about Jerez for the Spanish is the fans in the stands, they make you feel at home. I would like to win here in MotoGP, at best I finished second. I have great memories here, I won several times in other categories. There are so many historic tracks in the world championship, but Jerez is the one that perhaps offered the most exciting races and duels in history. Think about Jorge and Valentino or even Rossi and Gibernau."

How did you feel the Monday after Austin?
"I was emotional, I talked a lot about it with Rachele. She knows how difficult it has been for me, the difficulties I have overcome over the years. I always thought I could fight at a high level with Aprilia, I always felt it. But it wasn't until last year in Qatar that I really found a good balance of the bike for me and started riding the way I wanted to from the beginning. It's bad to work hard and then not pick up results, I've been there several times. But the Monday after Austin I was calm, I did 130 km on the bike to train and I felt good. But when you have to do it instead and you suffer on the track without having good results, that's when it becomes difficult to find the motivation. If you can overcome that, you know you can get certain results."

Automatic Translation by DeepL

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