Maverick Viñales 'Happiest Ever' After Misano Test

Maverick Viñales has completed the first two days of his Aprilia career, riding the RS-GP for the first time at the Misano circuit. The Spaniard was very happy afterwards, in no small part because he was also fast. He ended the day with a fastest lap of 1'32.4, he told Catalan journalist Damià Aguilar. Earlier, Lucio Lopez of MotoRaceNation, present at the track, reported that Viñales had set a lap of 1'32.8 on a soft tire with 8 laps on.

How fast is that? To put Viñales' times into perspective, the race lap record is 1'32.319, set by Pecco Bagnaia in last year's Misano 2 race, while Viñales himself holds the pole record, with a time of 1'31.077 set at the same event.

The fact that Viñales holds the pole record at Misano is evidence that he is fast at the track, but to be close to the race lap record after just two days on the bike is a sign that he has adapted very quickly. Aprilia did not change the bike much for Viñales, using the chassis and electronics settings taken from Aleix Espargaro's bike.

Blissed out

Viñales himself was extremely happy when he spoke to the media after the test. The happiest he had been, "probably in my life!" he told us. "The time that I am the most happy, because after five years there [at Yamaha] doing ups and downs and we didn't understand many things, at the end you say 'what is going on?' But as soon as I jumped to Aprilia I know my potential, I know what I'm able to do even more."

He had tried to enter Aprilia as a blank slate. "I honestly went without expectation, because you never know how the bike is going to react," Viñales told us. "But I have to say that I was a bit nervous because I never tried a different engine. I was used to riding bikes that have an inline four and I didn't know how it would react, but I was quite surprised that how I adapted to the engine was quite easy and this is nice." The engine character helped make the switch easy. "Basically, the bike has a really [good] handling engine, which is very important also for a long race."

With Viñales set to make is race debut on the Aprilia in 10 days time at Aragon, replacing the injured Lorenzo Savadori, he feels this gives him a big head start on his first full season aboard the RS-GP in 2022. "It was nice to jump quick because I have the opportunity to do six races and this is much better than to do just five days of testing. I will try to prepare well, and also with Aleix, the 2022, which is very important for me."

Sooner than expected

Actually being able to race at Aragon had been unexpected. "I didn't expect it," Viñales said. "I expected to be at home waiting for November to test the bike, but this opportunity is made first of all because I left [Yamaha] and then because Aprilia give me the opportunity. So basically what makes me really happy is that all the guys are working very hard, the atmosphere is really strong and also coming from a podium is the best time, you know, to join the team and try to give them the feedback." Viñales praised the work of the current team as well. "For sure Aleix and Savadori made an amazing job because they ride very fast and the bike is working well. I was quite surprised because the adaptation to the bike has been quite fast."

That fast adaptation had persuaded him to try to start racing as quickly as possible. "I wanted to race as soon as I did three [runs] with the bike," Viñales told us. "I think it's the best way way to prepare for next year. Even if maybe I'm not ready because it's difficult on the riding style still to be at one with the bike because I was used to ride a completely different bike. But I think in Aragon I will understand a little bit more, also riding with Aleix, he is fast so I can learn quickly how the bike works. But I feel strong. I feel very strong and this is the positive point."

Adapting to a different bike also requires a change of riding style, Viñales explained. "What I need to change is the way of braking, it's a bit different. This is a big learning process because the way that you can brake with the Aprilia is totally different and for this I will need laps." His new teammate can help in that regard "Also Aleix is very hard braking and I will need to learn a little bit from him how he does that strong brake. But I think this will come with confidence. This is the important point."

Goals still to achieve

The split with Yamaha had not caused him to hang his head and give up hope, Viñales told us. His ambition did not stop burning. "You know after everything happened, the only thing I had in mind was to ride, keep riding, I will not give up! Until i get my objectives accomplished. So I keep going. I keep going very strong. I will push at my maximum already from the first lap in Aragon. I know my place in Aprilia for what it is so I need to push so much, I need to improve myself and I need to keep going."

Viñales was not surprised that Yamaha let him race the Aprilia this year. "No, it's fair. Everyone has to have the opportunity and to leave the things in the past," Viñales said. Yamaha also had something to gain, of course: in exchange for releasing Maverick Viñales, Aprilia could also release Andrea Dovizioso from his testing contract. That allows Yamaha to put the Italian on the Petronas Yamaha from the Misano race, and gives him five races to get up to speed for next year.

When the honeymoon is over.

That Maverick Viñales should be happy after two days on the bike is a positive sign, but it is also a natural consequence of having changed. The Spaniard was deeply unhappy in the Yamaha team, and had been for some time. A change of scenery brings a breath of fresh air, and the eagerness with which he was welcomed will have made him feel wanted, an important motivation for Viñales.

That he should be fast is also hardly a surprise. Viñales is the undisputed champion of winter testing, frequently topping each preseason and post-race test. He is fast when he can ride alone, and choose his own lines.

The real test will come when things get difficult. When Viñales has a bad weekend, or finds that he can't overtake during a race, or has a technical problem. Right now, the Spaniard is in the honeymoon period with Aprilia. But honeymoons come to an end, and then the real work of the relationship starts.


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Comments

You butt heads with Romano Albesiano. Just ask every other rider that was across from Aleix.

Sorry MV, I don't see this ending well for you. 

is this the same bike that Dovi tested?  Multiple times.....?  And Dovi has gone to Yamaha, hmmmm.

The way MV talks after a positive test is always a worry for me, everything is peachy and the clouds are fluffy, blah blah blah (much the same as Colin Edwards used to say it but at least MV could actually win races wink).  Dovi on the other hand seems to be quite analytical regardless of the circumstances and his mood.

Best luck to both of them but I'm not holding my breath for one.

Colin Edwards was the engineer's rider, specifically the tire engineers. Probably not coincidence that VR lost a bit of the feel at Yamaha after Edwards stopped testing for them.

Am i right in saying that overall,  the carcass of the  Michelins compared to the Bridgestones are a lot softer? 

Is this one reason why Rossi complains about rear grip/feel because whenever anyone rode  any of his old bikes (when he was winning) they always said that the tyres (esp the rear) were like bricks (he always said he liked the harder tyres) and the harder the carcass, generally,  the more feel you get?

I don't know all the technical details.  The best engineer I studied with use to be a tire engineer.   So, I was given a glimpse of how that works, and why someone like Colin Edwards would be requested by name by Michelin & Bridgestone, i.e. most racers are completely useless for evalutating tires, much less entire bike setup.  Even if the Texas Tornado was outright slower than VR during their respective prime, I think part of the reason he rode #2 to VR at Yamaha for so many years was precisely for his precise feedback & bike development.

How he gets going on race day.. He is always the King of testing and also won the first 3(?) races with the Yamaha.. 

Generally, I'm not a huge fan of Maverick as I lean more toward Italian side for riders but especially Ducati.  That said, I'm hoping Maverick succeeds on the Aprilia.  I've heard over and over about his psyche and, though there is probably some truth to it, I believe that it gets repeated so much that it almost become truth.  And happy to see Dovi back on track.  Should be some fun at Aragorn.

I think your last paragraph of this piece sums things up nicely David.....

¿ isn't that the story of the YZR-M1 ? 

Even FQ can only show he's real advantage when he has clear road in front of him - and then , like JL , he is nigh no unbeatable .

Aleix has shown that the Aprilia works in traffic so that " he is fast etc " might change once Viñales gets his braking sorted .

David and co. were talking about this on the podcast.

A few times this year, Silverstone for one, FQ has been shuffled back a little off the start. Then he's spent a few laps picking people off, and then pulled away to win.

He does not need to be in front flag to flag to win.

Qatar 2 qualified P5 fell back to P9 on L4 then won

Silverstone qualified P3 fell back to P4 at the end of L1 then won

 

This right here is the exact problem with Mav: he is "the happiest ever" after riding someone else's bike for a couple days. He was recently 'the saddest ever' on his bike that he's been developing for years. None of these guys should be "the happiest ever" or the saddest ever until they win the championship or maybe lose it in heartbreaking fashion. This guy is far too mercurial. That is what Fabio found out about himself last year and he corrected it within himself. Mav does things like quit and change teams in the middle of a season multiple times, changes his number (!), changes crew chiefs, none of which changes himself or even looks in that direction. Lifelong/careerlong patterns don't resolve themselves, they must be addressed and hard work put in to alter them. Until Mav accepts that he is the common factor among all his problems he won't change. It's a shame because he is fast and stylish on his day.

I hope too. The alternative would appear to be something akin to a 'forced self criticism'. One devoid of self. Self being replaced with the demands of others. Really should change his number to 1111 and have a play with the font size of the second digit.

Mav needed a new environment and Dovi makes a come back. The season just got better. Will we see them on the podium together this soon?

"I left [Yamaha]" = was fired with immediate effect.

"it's fair" = Yamaha doesn't rate you, and isn't worried about you taking points off FQ.

This test reminds me of the forshadowing scenes from a TV drama: At the end of an episode, the protaganist is shown laughing and having fun with their family. Then, the next episode begins, with them indulging in the anti-social, self-destructive behaviour they're famous for.

I want to believe this is the begining of Mav's 2022 tittle challenge, but I'm a little too cynical for that!

The drama of the Maverick show is fascinating and I have absolutely no idea how it will play out. Even being named after a movie character has drama written all over it.

a) I am not an MV fan, never have been. But I appreciated his talent--and his theoretical ability to progress towards adulthood--enough to pick him to finish in the top 3 of the championship this year.

b) Recent history is littered with incredible talent that burns brightly, succeeding despite huge holes in their character. The intelligent and talented musician who wrote the song that is my namesake here on Motomatters comes to miind.

c) Admit it, we all slow down to see the car wreck. Fascinating to see how this plays out. Based on almost no data, I predict (guess?) that MV will win races on Aprilia, but will ultimately crash and burn, never a champion.

If he wins on the Aprilia that would be huge and imo an enormous contribution to MotoGP and Aprilia.  A championship however is probably unlikely for all the reasons that everyone has listed. 

Right now Aleix is doing very well with an Aprilia. Where is that? One 3rd place finish, and 9th in the Championship.

1 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 206  

2 Joan Mir Suzuki 141

3 Johann Zarco Ducati 137

4 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 136

5 Jack Miller Ducati 118

6 Brad Binder KTM 108

7 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 95

8 Miguel Oliveira KTM 85

9 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 83

 

If Vinales in Black challenges for a podium and gets a top 5 finish this season, then next season challenges for a win and gets a 2nd? I would be impressed. 2022 season, if he got P5 or P6 I would stand and applaud. 

What if Maverick Vinales is more of a V4 rider but has been on I4's? He had some legitimate struggles with the Yamaha, his crew chief, and brass a while back. It was horrible for a long time. His reaction was shite, particularly the finalized divorce weekend, but so was the bike. Breakups are horrible. 

Be happy! We have GREAT rider signings to wrap up silly season! There is a feast to look forward to. Tons of exciting news. 

And, if we must, looking personally at the people riding MotoGP bikes (not as a fan, but as the rider as human being) - who would I like to invite into my home as a guest for a weekend to connect with? That guy everyone tries to see in the paddock isn't one, it would be Binder, Quartararo or Vinales. So be nice talking about my "friends" eh?

:)

No doubt on Herve, seems like a classy and interesting guy. Agree on most of the riders, but Miller or Petrucci might be ok to hang with. :)

At the risk of causing an international incident on a MotoGP site... I would like to have Johnny Rea to my home for a drink.  Well, I am from Norn Iron too.

 

As I'm all for the things listed in my topic, I hope MV succeeds in mixing it up race after race with the top guns. It's what MotoGP is all about. Fairy tales, heroes, fair madens (yes please), close racing and a battle for the championship till the very end.

The more spices in the mix, the better I like my cup of MotoGP.

Bring on Aragon !

I hope the Viñales/Aprilia marriage works and Mav can express his authentic self on two wheels. Who wouldn't love to see Quartararo and Viñales going head to head?

THAT is an awesome dream!

There's probably about 10,000,000 reasons, spread out over the 2 years.

did he take any crew with him-assuming there were any left he hadn't sacked-or has he accepted what Aprilia already have? It seems common knowledge that his 'posse' with Dad in the mix seem to be protagonists and antagonists; I'm hoping Aprilia already have a steer on that, they'll need to. That said, more popcorn moments this way cometh 😃

The time is irrelevant bar it being in 'ball park'.

No idea what Aprilia were trying. Fuel. Tyres. Weather. Track condition. His 32.4 would have placed him 14th for Misano 1 and 18th for Misano 2. His pole time for Misano 1 would have placed him 7th for Misano 2. His 32.4 was 1 second slower than his own pole from Misano 1 and 1.4 seconds slower than his pole in Misano 2 but faster than some of his free practice times in the same races. Some of Aleix's FP times from Misano 2 were faster than 32.4. The Misano test from Sep 2020 32.4 would have placed him 8th.

However, it was his second day ever on an Aprilia and also a V4, that is impressive.