For Maverick Vinales, who worked his way up to eighth place in the Emilia Romagna MotoGP on Sunday from 21st, a set-up “competition” paid off “extremely well”.
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Vinales returned to 13th place with Aprilia the previous month and faced a major challenge only to get the points after 19th place and then lose more places in the opening laps.
Mistakes by other drivers helped put Vinales in 14th place by halftime, but he made up most of the remaining places on his own and showed impressive speed whenever he had an open track.
This also included setting the fourth fastest lap of the race on lap 20 of 27, when the Spaniard was slower than just the leaders Francesco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez.
Vinales continued to overtake and cross the finish line just a few tenths behind his teammate Aleix Espargaro, who was even fifth in the middle stage.
“I’m happy because before the race we fundamentally changed the balance of the motorcycle. It was a risk, but our goal is to get to know this motorcycle better and better,” said Vinales, who was only taking part in his third race at the RS- GP after separating from Yamaha in the middle of the season.
“It worked extremely well. I had good pace from the first laps and the only thing that kept me from fighting for an even better result was the fact that I had to make up positions from behind.
“After what we showed today, I am very confident. Step by step, the driver-team-bike package is coming together and that is fundamental.”
Espargaro’s race was in the opposite direction, an early climb from eleventh on the grid followed a lack of grip and a slippage in sequence.
Like Vinales, Espargaro decided on the middle front tire and the soft rear tire combination after a free practice and qualifying session made difficult by the rain.
“I’m happy with the points we scored today, mainly because my pace wasn’t exceptional. Unfortunately, I didn’t have good grip on the rear tire and had problems throughout the race,” said Espargaro.
“Given the complications this weekend, it is important to leave Misano with a solid performance. We are not far from the top 7 in the overall standings and we will give everything until the last race.”
Wildcard Lorenzo Savadori was unable to start the race after breaking his collarbone in practice. The Italian was operated on on Saturday evening and, since his wildcard plans for Portimao have now been canceled, he wants to return to the Jerez test in mid-November.