2021 MotoGP pre-season Yamaha's toughest – Vinales

Maverick Vinales admits the fact MotoGP testing is taking place in Qatar on the same track as the opening two rounds makes 2021’s pre-season the toughest he’s faced with Yamaha.

2021 MotoGP pre-season Yamaha's toughest – Vinales

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all five days of MotoGP testing for 2021 have been confined to the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, while the opening two rounds of the campaign will also take place there.

Yamaha has typically always gone well at both the Qatar test and grand prix in recent years, and Vinales is wary of this fact masking any problems with the M1 which could arise when the championship heads to Europe, starting in April with the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com ahead of this weekend's first two days of testing, Vinales says Yamaha has to be "smart enough to understand how it will be in the next tracks" when working through its Qatar programme.

"Yes, for sure, because we will only test in one track," he said when asked if this pre-season was the toughest he will face.

"But Qatar has a special thing that from two o'clock to four o'clock, the track is dusty, so there's no grip.

"So, we will see if we can work on that, on those hours and see if we can make something clear for Portimao and for the rest of the season.

"It will be difficult because one month in Qatar, everyone will go fast. Everyone, all riders.

"So, it's going to be tough to understand where you are, but we need to be smart enough to understand how we will be in the next tracks.

"So, we will see. After the test, I will tell you a bit more about that."

A lack of grip has been a general issue for Yamaha riders since MotoGP's switch to Michelin tyres in 2016.

One of the problems Vinales felt hindered him was having to split his focus in 2020 on developing parts during race weekends while also building up his own weekend.

He felt this led him to getting "lost" too often, and sees this as the area where new test rider Cal Crutchlow can really help – along with his straight-talking nature.

When asked if he agreed with former teammate Valentino Rossi's comments that Crutchlow "will make the difference" for Yamaha, Vinales said: "I feel the same as Valentino, I think he can make the difference because for me most of the problems were that on the race weekends, I needed to try many things and when I try many things I get lost.

"Also, I don't then have enough time to work with myself on the track.

"He will make the difference, I think. He can say 'yes or no'. This is the most important thing.

"I think Cal is good with that, so I have a lot of faith with Cal."

shares
comments

Related video

Aprilia facing its "most important" year in MotoGP

Previous article

Aprilia facing its "most important" year in MotoGP

Next article

Crutchlow can “make the difference” for Yamaha – Rossi

Crutchlow can “make the difference” for Yamaha – Rossi
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Maverick Viñales
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing
Author Lewis Duncan
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Prime

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021
Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP Prime

Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP

Lightning hasn't struck twice for Maverick Vinales since 2017 and his wayward form of recent years makes predicting how he'll fare each MotoGP race weekend tricky. But fresh from his Qatar GP win, Vinales looks like an even more dangerous prospect for the Doha GP following an intriguing Friday practice.

MotoGP
Apr 3, 2021
Why MotoGP’s new Amazon Prime series is long overdue Prime

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon Prime series is long overdue

OPINION: MotoGP is getting its own version of Drive to Survive on Amazon Prime at some point in the near future. It was news welcomed by the grid’s leading riders. And following the impact DTS has had on Formula 1, MotoGP desperately needs the same boost.

MotoGP
Mar 31, 2021
The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack' Prime

The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack'

Maverick Vinales’s authoritative victory at the MotoGP season opener came during a period of personal and professional change for the Yamaha rider. Can it be the springboard for a title challenge?

MotoGP
Mar 29, 2021
Why Lorenzo needs to ditch social media and enjoy retirement Prime

Why Lorenzo needs to ditch social media and enjoy retirement

OPINION: Jorge Lorenzo's status as one of the greatest MotoGP riders of all time is hard to dispute. But his constant social media spats with fellow riders and insistence on listing his achievements to his detractors are running the risk of tarnishing a legacy he worked hard to create.

MotoGP
Mar 20, 2021