Maverick: "I'm not going to cut gas because I'm going to be a father"

His improvement: "Last year I felt we had potential, but I was stuck in the race and was not able to overtake."


Maverick Viñales has changed a lot in recent months. He has married, is going to be a father and now he does not sink when difficulties arise in the race and overtakes rivals with an ease that was not seen last year. This is how he rallied from eighth, after another bad start, to victory in the MotoGP Qatar GP.

-Victory despite another bad start. Congratulations ...

-I don't know why the beginning of the race is always a bit difficult. I saw that Fabio also had a lot of wheelie and that they were ahead of us a lot. That is something that we have to improve and right now it is our priority. I started to have a good feeling with the bike from the second sector of the first lap and there I was able to show my potential. Of course there are things to improve, but we are on the right track and today is a day to enjoy this victory. It is only the first race, so keep your feet on the ground and be aware that in the next race everyone will improve.

-Was it difficult for you to overtake Quartararo or were you managing the race?

-I felt quite confident behind Fabio. The Ducati did not just run away and Fabio was closing that distance and I was trying to save the rear tire. I didn't want to take too many risks until I saw that I had the opportunity. So, I pushed six or seven laps in which I passed Fabio, Johann and Pecco; and then I tried to manage the tires. We had worked on him in practice and he knew how to get grip. Today I had good grip and that is a good sign for us because last year we suffered after Moto2.

-It seemed that it did not lose as much with the Ducati in top speed.

-I think it has to do with the way we came out of the last corner. We had more traction and until the third or fourth we were very fast. I think that we have worked very well this year in which the engine could not be improved, and we improved in other areas. In addition, the wind conditions today have helped us because it was coming head-on and the Ducati weren't that fast.

-Looks like you haven't had the tire drop, correct?

-At the start of the race I had a very good feeling with the front tire and I took advantage of it in the first laps, to keep the rear. Afterwards it was very fine, much finer than during the rest of the weekend. Thanks to this I was able to push with ten laps to go. I am very satisfied to regain feeling with the front tire that I did not have for a long time last year.

-Didn't being a father lose half a second per lap?

-I'm crazy and I'm not going to cut gas because I'm going to be a father. I think it is the year that I have the most potential so I will not change. I'm going to fulfill a dream being a father and I can't ask for more. I am most grateful for all of this.

-Was it very important to maintain the position as soon as you overtook Bagnaia?

-I made a mistake when I overtook Pecco and almost went out of Turn 14. And despite that I was able to get into 15 well and generate that distance. When I saw 0.4 on the board I was praying that Pecco would not overtake me. From there I pushed three laps to open a safe distance. Then I changed the map to save tires and get to the end of the race. The fact is that this was not my plan, my intention was to go out first and shoot. But after the first few laps I saw a lot of potential on my bike and I tried to ride fine and save tires.

-Has your way of facing the races changed mentally?

-We have changed the mentality a bit. We have to be stronger in overtaking. Last year I felt we had potential, but I was stuck in the race and was not able to overtake. But here in Qatar I had several points of overtaking and that is because we have worked very well in winter. In general terms, I have been more aggressive and we have to continue in this line.

-Would I change being fast in the curve for the speed of the Ducati?

-If we could have the power of the Ducati, combined with our virtues, it would be perfect. But you can't have it all. Surely if we had his speed we would need better brakes. We know what our strengths are and take advantage of the advantages. They are in the DNA of Yamaha and I finally feel it. We have to work in this direction and work with Cal. This is allowing us to focus on working towards the race, and Cal is doing a great job with the test team.

-How do you feel being on a podium with some fans?

-It's great to have the fans on the circuit. It's extra motivation to push, but the organization is doing an extraordinary job celebrating all these races.

-What has changed this year?

-I have seen that the cornering has been incredible because I did not have those feelings all weekend. With Yamaha we have worked a lot on this point in preseason and Cal also worked a lot. His riding is very similar to mine and he has helped me understand many things. He came from a large factory and has brought many things to the team.

-What has Cal Crutchlow given you?

-We pilot in a very similar way. On the last day of testing I tried his bike and it fitted me quite a bit. So it's a different mindset than last year, because we had to try a lot of things on race weekends. And having a pilot like Cal gives you calm, because if he says something works I believe in him.

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