Maverick Vinales has activated zen mode this year, with extraordinary calm and nothing seems to disturb him off the track. On the saddle of his Aprilia however, the Spaniard pulls his teeth out and in Friday’s free practice of the Argentine Grand Prix he commanded the first session, closing the day with the second fastest time behind his teammate Aleix Espargaro.
For Mack, competing with his friend and teammate is definitely good for the team. In fact, he believes that it could allow both of them to improve and be faster: “It’s Friday, we’ve worked well, getting the most out of the bike. We need to improve some small details and for us the most important thing is to fight to stay in front as we are doing”.
However, right in the final Aleix took away the best time from him by just 162 thousandths: “Okay, we have to push each other and this is a good thing for Aprilia. In 2015, when we were at Suzuki, it was the same thing. We fought each other on the track, but once off the circuits we always had a good relationship. You have to be intelligent, the secret in Aprilia is the harmony within the team, it must remain the same. It’s good that there is rivalry, that way we’ll go faster.”
More than the bike, Vinales underlined that it’s the riding style that puts the Aprilia riders ahead of everyone: “What I’ve noticed is that the rear tire is very hard and, based on your riding style, you adapt better or worse. I get the bike up much quicker, I’m more abrupt and in situations with hard tyres, Aleix defends himself a little better. But we will look at the data to see how he does and we will improve ”.
It’s only Friday, but with the new format, the first day is already crucial for the weekend: “Time is precious now, on Saturday we had the third free practice session, qualifying and then we have to run a race. Having a lot of data and a lot of information on Friday is important, we completed a lot of laps, struggling and preparing for tomorrow”.
Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“The pace in general is very similar, we’ll see better tomorrow in FP3. When the tire loses temperature, then it’s very difficult to warm it up again, which is why my lap times weren’t better in the second session. But I’m happy because this allowed me to understand how the tires work”, explained the Aprilia rider.
Only a few details remain to be finalized in view of Saturday and Sunday, decisive days. However, the weather will be key, which promises to be good after the drops of rain that fell today: “The wind here isn’t even noticeable compared to Portimao, where it sent you off the track. It wasn’t very evident, it didn’t affect us, maybe we need to put I’ve got a few gears, sixth, but it’s not very important. The worst day for the weather was today and it didn’t rain, so I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow either.”
Vinales already has clear ideas about the tires to use: “The softer (medium) rear compound will be the one we’ll use in both races. This year it works differently than last year, so it’s important to understand how they work. Tomorrow the lap times will be quite low, we will be close to the record, if it doesn’t rain we can go down to 1.37. The grip on the track is very similar to last year, the track will clean up as the sessions go by.”
Finally, after his first experience in Portimao, the Aprilia rider takes stock of the Sprint Race: “I always see it as in other championships where there are three, in motocross, in SBK, it’s more getting used to the new format, because the physical I don’t see it. I like it, on Saturday in the sprint you can learn a lot for the race”.
Leave a Reply