Vinales Intent On Solving Qualifying Struggles


Maverick Vinales was left in no doubt over the area he needs to improve in if he is to challenge for victory at Misano this weekend. The Paginas Amarillas HP 40 rider finished a close third behind Esteve Rabat and Mika Kallio in Sunday’s British Grand Prix but felt a poor qualifying display cost him a better shot at the win.

Single lap pace has proved Vinales' weakness in 2014
Single lap pace has proved Vinales’ weakness in 2014

The reigning Moto3 champion has been among the stars of the intermediate class since moving up at the start of this season but his Saturday performances have often put him on the back, with just one front row start all year. Silverstone saw him presented with another mountain to climb, starting from the third row, and although he recovered to feature in the fight for victory, Maverick told The Checkered Flag that he needs to get to the bottom of his qualifying woes, especially given the risk of accidents early on.

“For sure we did a really job this weekend. The only problem for me was the start, I was in eighth position and that’s too far back and in the beginning I had some problems with a lot of riders when we tried to pass. I felt a touch on the first lap from Dominique Aegerter when he was behind me, he was obviously trying to make a good start but it was a big risk to me. In the end we felt really strong though and caught the top riders but we need to make sure we do a better qualifying in the next race.”

After fighting his way into the leading group, Vinales became embroiled in a scrap with polesitter Johann Zarco on lap fifteen which ultimately left him too far back, the Spaniard admitting he ran out of laps in order to challenge the Marc VDS teammates.

“I tried to catch Kallio earlier but in the end we fought with Zarco and they were able to make a gap of 1.5 seconds. At the end, I was catching them at the last corner but this was no good as I was no longer able to fight for the victory.”

Vinales now trails Rabat by 67 points with six races remaining and has all-but written off a tilt at the title, admitting he needs a repeat of the Mercedes implosion in Formula One to bring him into play. “For sure I’m too far away but I’ll try to make the teammates a little bit nervous!” he joked. He may be right in terms of his own championship hopes but on Sunday’s evidence, he may still have a major say in the outcome.