Aprilia Team Manager Paolo Bonora explains to Neil Morrison how the factory has nurtured Maverick Viñales to a level where he is a MotoGP contender once again.
Would it be fair to say Mack is back? If not now, then top figures at Aprilia are confident it won’t be long until Maverick Viñales is on the top step of the podium once more, in part thanks to a good deal of patience and a careful strategy of man-management.
It hadn’t been an easy start to life in Aprilia colours for the enigmatic Catalan. He finished higher than tenth just twice in his first 13 races aboard the RS-GP, a bike that could currently be hailed as the most rounded package on the grid, and one that could yet win this year’s championship with teammate Aleix Espargaro.
But the British Grand Prix at Silverstone was vindication for the faith Aprilia has shown in the former Moto3 World Champion. While his performance lacked a touch of composure in the critical moments, it was the first time Viñales was clearly the fastest rider on track in any race since his explosive exit from Yamaha this month a year ago.
What’s more, the 27-year old mentioned he had “started laughing” when up front, fighting among the Ducatis of Francesco Bagnaia, Jack Miller and Jorge Martin. It has been quite some time when Viñales has appeared so comfortable and content both on the bike and off it.