Vinales tumbled from 12th on the grid to 20th on the first lap and struggled on lap 1:41 before eventually falling into the more competitive 1:40 minutes – although that was still a long way from teammate Fabio Quartararo, who won the 1:39 race.
The Qatar GP winner crossed the line 23.7 seconds before the eleventh win and is now 20 points behind Quartararo in the championship.
Vinales admits he had poor grip all weekend apart from the final laps in qualifying which were canceled. This lack of grip has been a recurring problem for the Spaniard since joining Yamaha.
When asked by Motorsport.com if he was concerned about this shift from race-winning form in both races in Qatar to such a big fight in Portugal, he said it was but that he could find comfort in the fact that his problem was “not normal” this weekend.
“I am particularly concerned because it is a difficult season,” said Vinales.
“It’s difficult to keep the focus and especially the motivation when you see that you can win the first two races. Then you get to the next track and fight to get into the top 10.
“Fortunately, some drivers crashed and allowed us to do something better.
“But today was a difficult, difficult race. I can’t explain why, the feeling was very similar all weekend, very little grip, only I had good grip on the last tire in qualifying, which made a big difference.
“If you haven’t canceled my lap, it should be on pole position. Basically we had problems all weekend, we couldn’t figure out why.
“But it’s time to review, it’s time to see and improve, because on the other hand we’ll be in the same edition as every year.
“We start to win everything and then gradually slow down. That is not a positive. “
He added, “We have to keep working as we have done before and see if we can find something.
“We can definitely get something out of this race because it wasn’t normal what I felt on the bike.
“So let’s think positively, we are now coming to a really positive path for us and especially for me in Jerez. We will work hard to do better. “
Vinales admits that the race would have been different with a better qualifying position but doesn’t think he would have had enough to win.
“At the beginning we know we have a problem. We can’t improve until we get something new,” he said.
“However, we have to be in the front row. The front row for us would have been a completely different race – not to be won, because today I didn’t have the pace, I had very little grip on the bike and I couldn’t do anything unbelievable, but at least in the top five. “