Viñales “close to the top” on Saturday

A P4 start and strong race pace means the Spaniard looks set for a solid Sunday in Barcelona

Maverick Viñales' (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) positive weekend at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya continued on Saturday after qualifying fourth on the grid for Sunday’s 24 lap race.

Despite the solid grid position, the Spaniard was left wanting more from a “tricky” session, but remained positive about his race pace – something he has been working on for the majority of the weekend. “Yeah for sure I expected a little bit more from the qualifying, I’m happy because we were working on race set up and we were close to the top,” explained Viñales. “Tomorrow we just have to make a good start and push from the beginning. The qualifying was a little bit tricky with the front tyre sliding a lot and I couldn’t make my best lap, anyway I’m happy overall and let’s see tomorrow.”

Tyres have become one of the big talking points of this weekend's Catalan GP, with teammate Valentino Rossi suggesting “the tyre allocation from Michelin is not the right one,” but does the number 25 agree?

“I think for our bike it’s a little bit tricky because one looks like it’s too soft, and the other it’s too hard, it’s sliding even more,” said the Spaniard, who seemingly complies with his teammate’s comments. “So, we don’t have a good compound for our bike in Mugello and now here but it’s like this, we have to go with the best tyre and push.”

Viñales qualified ninth at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 2017 and finished 24 seconds behind eventual winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). Thankfully though, it seems the 23-year-old has no such issues this year. Will it be podium number two of the season for Viñales on home soil?