The nine-time MotoGP race winner embarks on his first full campaign with Aprilia in 2022, having joined the marque from last year’s Aragon Grand Prix after losing his place with Yamaha amidst a major fallout.
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As the only manufacturer on the grid yet to win a race, having scored one and only podium to date at last year’s British Grand Prix with Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia operates under results-based concession rules – something afforded to all new and struggling manufacturers.
Concession marques have a bigger engine allocation and are, crucially, permitted to carry out in-season testing with race riders.
Vinales is aware of the benefits this will bring him as he continues to adapt to the Aprilia, having already previously worked under such circumstances at Suzuki in 2015 and 2016.
“The correct word is it brings me calmness, because I know if one weekend I’m not able to find the set-up, we have many test days where we can take profit to find a better set-up,” Vinales said after the Indonesia test when asked how he felt about Aprilia’s concessions.
“We’re going to take the maximum profit of the benefits, which I think will be very positive, especially for the tracks we’re going to race maybe two, three weeks later on.
“To have already good feedback from a test is always very positive. However, I’m here to work very hard, especially to push myself at the maximum.
“It’s a very demanding challenge because it’s not easy to change from just a few races to arrive here on top as soon as possible, it’s quite complicated.
“But I think it’s possible, so step by step I’m getting better on the bike and the team understands a bit more what I need to be fast.”
Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team
Photo by: MotoGP
Vinales ended last weekend’s Mandalika test eighth overall and showed reasonably competitive race pace over a long run.
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Although he admitted after the Sepang test that his adaptation to the Aprilia is taking “much longer” than he’d hoped, Vinales feels he is moving in the right direction and believes race weekend running will be more beneficial to him going forward.
“We understand many things, these three days [in Indonesia] were very important for us because even with the struggles we were able to be on a track where grip was very low to understand how the bike was working,” he added.
“I feel I’m better on race rhythm than on one lap, especially because I just put on one tyre and I didn’t finish my second lap.
“However, I feel like we are on the way that our way of working is quite correct and I’m feeling better with the bike.
“Still, we need laps. As I said, I need racing days, race weekends to see the procedure, how to work, how the bike is working on 40-minute sessions.
“However, I feel optimistic because even if my feeling with the bike is not perfect, we are able to be inside the top five, especially on rhythm.”