Gutted Vinales searches for answers after dramatic Austin exit

Maverick Vinales described the Austin accident that cost him the MotoGP championship lead as the strangest of his career and is convinced it was not due to a riding error.

Gutted Vinales searches for answers after dramatic Austin exit
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Start: Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team leads
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
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Vinales arrived in America already 14 points clear in the standings having won in Qatar and Argentina on his first two starts for Yamaha, and after dominating testing following his winter move from Suzuki.

But at Austin he fell on only the second lap when running fourth, and intimated the fault may lay with Michelin tyre inconsistencies.

“I couldn't have done anything about this crash,” said Vinales, who is now six points behind Yamaha teammate and new championship leader Valentino Rossi and 12 clear of Austin winner Marc Marquez in third.

“I know the tyre was not as good as this morning, because on the left side I had some warning at the start of the second lap.

“I'm disappointed about the race for myself and the team because they worked really good all weekend and then you get a tyre without the same grip we had in the morning and I crashed doing the same thing as the morning.

“If I crashed doing 2m04s trying to catch Marc or fighting for the victory, I know it was my mistake. Like this, you waste some points for nothing.

“Last year in all the races I just crashed in Argentina in the wet. All the other tracks I've been more on the limit. That's why I feel strange. I've never crashed like that in my career.

“That's why I'm calm, because I know it wasn't my mistake. I know there was something [else].”

Crash costly for title bid 

Vinales admitted the crash was a blow in a title fight he had previously looked to be taking control of, but said it would not change how he approached the rest of what he expects to be a head-to-head championship battle with Marquez.

“I approach the championship in the same way, race-by-race, and give our 100 percent,” he said.

“For sure, that mistake costs us a lot, but we know we can do it. Marc and myself today were riding on another pace. We know we can fight each other.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

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