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Luckless Viñales laments qualifying woes in Le Mans

Spaniard was taken out by another rider for the second time this season but admits the real mistake was made on Saturday afternoon

First in Argentina, now in France. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales hasn’t had to best of luck this season after a collision with Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) at the French GP prematurely ended his race, this coming after Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli tagged the Spaniard on the final lap in Termas de Rio Hondo.

Without these two DNFs, it’s fair to say Viñales wouldn’t be sitting tenth in the overall standings, with his gap to Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) already 65 points.

In 15 mins: French Grand Prix MotoGP™ highlights

And the French GP was looking very good for Viñales. He ended a dry Friday at the top of the timesheets, then went quickest in a wet FP3 session to prove he had hot pace in both conditions. A third in FP4 consolidated that the Yamaha rider would be a contender for at least the podium if qualifying went to plan, but, unfortunately, it didn’t.

“Well honestly I couldn’t do anything,” said Viñales, talking about the crash with Bagania that occurred at Turn 12 in the early stages of Sunday’s race. “I also tried to overtake Aleix in the same moment,” continued the 24-year-old, who admits he and the team got their qualifying strategy wrong in Q2 as one of the weekend’s leading contenders had to settle for P11 on the grid.

“But anyway I think it’s important to understand this weekend the mistakes were made on Saturday, I think the strategy, honestly we did very bad. So when you start 11th this is what you’re exposed to. So we need to keep working and understanding these things, let’s see, we started with a perfect weekend and ended with zero points so we need to understand and to learn.

“For sure I think we could have made up many, many places because I was already getting into the rhythm,” reflected Viñales, who was just starting to get himself into a rhythm, with a podium place by no means out of sight.

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“And the podium was not so far, just a second, so I think I was able to push and push to close the gap but anyway, when you start there further back it’s always difficult. We need to pay attention in qualifying, it’s very important to get on the first or second row and hopefully in the next races we don’t do the same mistake.”

The Tuscan hills and Mugello are next on the agenda for Viñales, a circuit he’s only had one podium at in the premier class – a P2 in 2017.

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