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Free Practice pacesetter and polesitter Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) couldn’t quite make it two Phillip Island wins on the spin on Sunday at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
In 15 mins: Australian Grand Prix MotoGP™ highlights
The Spaniard went head-to-head with eventual race winner Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the duo asserted their supremacy on the Island in 2019, but the race would unfortunately end in the Turn 10 gravel trap for Viñales on the final lap. However, only positives can be taken from the Yamaha rider’s sensational weekend ahead of the final two races of 2019 – and the start of the 2020 campaign.
“Well actually I’m very happy because I gave my best every lap, every single lap,” began Viñales. From pole he dropped back to P6 but managed to slowly pick off his competitors before hitting the front on Lap 10, with he and Marquez immediately breaking clear.
“But for sure we have things to improve, you could see in the race on the TV. So we need to keep working, keep improving the bike. I think we have very positive points and some that we have to improve but as a rider I gave my best. If not there, the crash was 10 metres later because I already attacked to go in, so it was there or later, I tried my best. When you try your best… ok for me today was victory or nothing, I think it was the best.”
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With nothing to lose, it was obvious Viñales’ tactic was to win or crash. Sadly for the number 12 rider, it ended with the latter but Yamaha and Viñales’ current run of form is hugely positive ahead of 2020. The improvements Viñales speaks about? Top speed will be – probably – the main one after Marquez was able to blitz past the Yamaha on the Gardner Straight into Doohan Corner to claim P1 at the start of the last lap. Talking of straight-line speed, Sepang is up next. A track Viñales likes, but he knows Yamaha will find the going slightly tougher than it maybe was at Phillip Island.
“Sepang is a track that I really like. Here the feelings were very positive. I rode fast in all the areas, especially on the race pace we were very fast,” said Viñales, reiterating his scorching speed on the Island. “We need to keep working, for sure it won’t be easy in Sepang because of the long straights. But we’ll keep working and we’ll be there for sure, we’re really motivated as always.”
Third in the Championship would have been Viñales’ if it wasn’t for the crash, but with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) only managing P9 in Australia, the gap is just seven points. And, he’s the top Yamaha rider by 13 over Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) – an accolade he’ll be wanting to grab. So, expect Viñales to be on song at Sepang.
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