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Viñales: “My plan was to push with five laps to go”

Movistar Yamaha rider got pushed back into the group before recovering to take a podium

It was an almighty war at the front on Phillip Island, and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was in the thick of it planning his attack for the lead – until Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) made a move round the outside of Turn 1 and the Spaniard then came close to an incident with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar). But he fought back, and was able to beat Zarco in a drag to the line to complete the podium – and only thousandths behind fellow Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi.

#AustralianGP: Multi-OnBoard Start

“My plan was to push with five laps to go,” says Viñales. “I was planning where to overtake Johann. But I had some contact with Andrea, I was back in the group and needed some time to recover. I started to overtake the other riders fast and, honestly, I was quite far back from where I needed to be in the last corner, but the bike accelerated really well and I even thought I could pass Valentino. In the end he was a bit too far ahead, but I‘m still really happy.”

Although now mathematically out of the title fight with two rounds to go, the Australian GP did see both Yamahas once again back at the front – something that gives Viñales heart ahead of the trip to Sepang.

“It’s the first race in the second half of the season where I’ve felt really strong,” explains the Spaniard. “And in Warm Up in the wet it was better. We improved the traction a lot, and if not I wouldn’t have been able to get on the podium. There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend, especially on the soft tyre. The championship challenge is gone, this is not good news, but we already knew all season it was going to be difficult, especially during the second part. We have to try to be strong, as always, and try to be on the podium again in Malaysia.”

Now the Movistar Yamaha crew will compare their preseason efforts in testing at the venue to where they are now, and push to fight at the front at first Sepang and then Valencia.

2017 Australian Grand Prix: MotoGP™ Full Race