Maverick Vinales says he managed to make good progress with his new RS-GP in areas that he found it difficult to master with the Yamaha M1, although admittedly he still needed progress.
Vinales made his debut with Aprilia in the Aragon Grand Prix instead of Lorenzo Savadori for the remainder of the season after being sacked by previous employer Yamaha over the weekend after the events of the Styrian GP last month.
After testing his new machine in a two-day test at Misano before racing with the Italian brand, Vinales concentrated on simply “collecting kilometers” in the race while trying different setups to get around the RS-GP.
However, Vinales revealed that the V4-powered Aprilia – which compared to the more fluid nature of the inline-four M1 he has ridden in the past – has different characteristics that have allowed him to improve in certain areas where he is with what Yamaha has suffered, the Nine MotoGP race winner said he was pleased to have pinpointed the places where he needs to improve in the future.
“I think we have learned in which areas we have to be strong and in which areas we have to improve, that’s clear from my side, but overall it’s positive because I worked well and wanted to drive the whole race and don’t risk too much to gain experience on the bike, ”said Vinales.
“We start at the very bottom, we have to try to find a better set-up for my driving style because I felt very strange at some points on the track, but there were also some positive points where I was strong that I was have fought for the past few years.
“That means the bike has some positives and negatives so we have to work on the balance and see what we can improve because I tried a different set up for the race to see what the bike would do would and the ‘information was good.
“I’ll have the same mentality as here (in Misano), try to collect kilometers but not make mistakes, to try to understand the bike (better), this is work time and we have to build up.
“I don’t expect to be up there, I expect to fight, but hopefully I’ll work to find some potential in the next races.”
Aprilia teammate Aleix Espargaro, meanwhile, continued to prove the ancestry of the ever-improving RS-GP by cementing his Silverstone podium two weeks ago with a strong run to fourth in Aragon, the brand’s second-best result since returning to the premier class in 2015 after his third in the British GP.
Espargaro admitted that finishing fourth at the Spanish venue was “even harder” than conquering his Silverstone grandstands as he “didn’t quite have the pace” for a second consecutive podium when Suzuki’s Joan Mir escaped.
“I’m very happy and satisfied, the podium was not easy at Silverstone and it was even more difficult today because I didn’t quite have the pace that I had at Silverstone,” said Espargaro.
“The pace at the beginning of the race was super fast, last year (Franco) Morbidelli won the race with 1: 49.5 and this year we were well in 1:48, which is incredible.
“At the end of the race I had no traction and for the last five laps I (Joan) couldn’t follow me so I decided to finish the race and get the points, we’re seventh in the championship so I am overall very satisfied.
“This is very important because this is the second best result with Aprilia in the last five years, so I’m happy if you tried the podium, it’s not enough, but I’m happy because it was a very solid weekend that gives me a push to Misano, a stretch that we usually struggle on, so we’ll try again there. ”