Vinales “bet on myself” to succeed with Aprilia after Yamaha MotoGP split
The Spaniard elected to quit Yamaha a year early midway through 2021 having struggled for form on the M1 before he was ousted with immediate effect following the Styrian GP having been found to have deliberately tried to break his engine.
Vinales subsequently signed for Aprilia and made his debut with the team later that year.
At the time this move was questioned as Aprilia was not a frontrunning team, but Vinales led for much of last Sunday’s Catalan GP and was second in an historic 1-2 for the squad behind team-mate Aleix Espargaro.
Asked to reflect on where he was when he left Yamaha to join Aprilia following the Catalan GP, he told MotoGP’s world feed: “Honestly, this day is one of my favourite ones in racing. I cannot ask for anything else.
“I tried to win, I fought for the win. Aleix was a bit faster at the end, but this is like that. We played this game.
“For me, it’s pretty curious to see how things change when you believe in yourself and you believe in the project.
“I’m quite in shock because we did an historic result for Aprilia this weekend, and to put Aprilia where it is now is not an easy job.
Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“I want to thank all of the guys in the factory who are working so hard, to Aleix for bringing me to Aprilia and enjoy these days.
“I bet on myself, not on anyone else. I know what I’m able to do, how I can ride the bike.
“I think the mental power is something unbelievable. I felt something today I was missing in the races and I think Misano is going to be different.”
Vinales seemingly took a dig at Yamaha in the press conference later on Sunday, noting that he feels “valued” now at Aprilia having not been “treated in a good way in the past”.
“I want the people to understand that in this sport a rider has to feel valued,” he said.
“And in this team I feel a lot of value, I feel a lot of respect.
“And this is very important because I wasn’t treated in a good way in the past. And to have this kind of feeling with the team… I realised today I had the best day of motorcycle racing in my life.”
In the cooldown lap, Espargaro and Vinales swapped bikes to ride back to parc ferme.
Race winner Espargaro says this was prompted after remembering how he had to convince Vinales to join him at Aprilia during his lowest ebb with Yamaha.
“It came into my mind in Austria three years ago when Maverick was suffering, crying, and I said to him on the flight back home: ‘You will join us in Aprilia, no worries’,” Espargaro said.
“But he was not really sure at that moment because the Aprilia was not really competitive.
“And I remember I said to him we’re going to win together and a lot of people criticised me because I was bringing a very strong guy to the team and this is racing, you have to beat your team-mate.
“But two strong riders working with the engineers can go far.”