Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales revealed that his focus at the end of the Indonesian MotoGP encounter was on keeping Fabio Quartararo behind rather than attacking Francesco Bagnaia for the win.
Vinales enjoyed a potent outing at the Mandalika International Circuit as his Aprilia RS-GP suited the fast curves of the Indonesian venue, the Spaniard qualifying on the front row and fighting for victory in the Saturday sprint race.
He ran second for much of Sunday’s full-length race behind runaway leader Jorge Martin, though inherited the lead after the Pramac Ducati pilot crashed out, opening up the possibility of a first premier class win in nearly three years.
A lack of rear grip in the closing laps ultimately saw him drop behind series leader Bagnaia, though he managed to come back at the factory Ducati rider as he backed off on the final lap.
Vinales ultimately settled for second though after coming under pressure from Yamaha’s Quartararo, the nine-time premier class winner admitting he focussed on keeping second rather than seriously challenging Bagnaia’s leadership.
“We must be happy, we made a good comeback after two races where we were unable to achieve a good performance,” said Vinales after the race.
“I was able to have a good feeling with the bike, there are still a few things to get right and get closer to the Ducati’s as yesterday we had a tyre drop and today they had more at the end.
“I think he was controlling things (chasing Bagnaia on final lap), but the main thing I was thinking about was that I could see that Fabio (Quartararo) recovered a second in one lap.
“I knew if I made a mistake that he would come through and then I wouldn’t have the time to get back past, so I just tried to be perfect in all the braking zones to not allow him to attack me.”
Vinales added that he concentrated on “controlling the rear tyre temperature” following his struggles late in the sprint race, which saw him drop to fourth in the closing stages.
He felt being able to make a good start and remain up front in the opening stanza was key to him being able to keep his rubber underneath him across the full race distance.
“He (Jorge Martin) was very fast at the beginning and I could follow him for the first five or six laps, but I knew I would never get to the last part of the race (with good tyres) so I tried to control the rear temperature because yesterday I had a huge drop, and I didn’t want the same today,” continued Vinales.
“I needed to control things the whole time, so luckily I got a good start and had the room to be able to be really smooth on the gas.
“I’m proud of the job we are doing, and I’m enjoying this period. I want to win really bad, but I know it’ll come if we keep working.”