Vinales: Perfect start to 2017 “difficult to believe”

Maverick Vinales admits he found it “difficult to believe” he could start his Yamaha MotoGP career with two straight victories, despite dominating winter testing.

Vinales: Perfect start to 2017 “difficult to believe”
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Race winner Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing, Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda
Podium: Second place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing, Race winner Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Crutchow
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Race winner Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Race winner Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing

The Spanish rider added a second win to his Yamaha resume – his third in the premier class – on Sunday in Argentina, as he took advantage of a crash from early leader Marc Marquez to win by three seconds.

Vinales has opened up his advantage at the head of the riders’ standings to 14 over teammate Valentino Rossi, who beat Cal Crutchlow to finish second in the Rio de Termas Hondo race.

Although he topped every test of the pre-season, starting with his Yamaha debut last November at Valencia, Vinales said he still found it hard to imagine himself kicking off the year with two wins.

“It’s difficult to believe you can start like this,” said the 22-year-old, who became the first Yamaha rider to win the first two races of the season since Wayne Rainey in 1990.

“For sure if somebody told me [last year] that I would win that race in Argentina, I would say nearly impossible. From three races I did here I crashed in two.

“Two victories in a row is something incredible, gives us a high motivation. We have to keep on the right way, that motivation and still working really hard.

“We are in a good moment, I am feeling good. I could give my 100 percent; when I can ride how I want, I can do a good rhythm.

“For the next races we have to continue like that. The team is really motivated, I’m motivated, Yamaha has done a great performance now. Race by race I feel stronger, I’m so happy and pleased.”

While Vinales dominated for much of the Argentina race, he still had to make his way from sixth on the grid after a wet qualifying, passing Crutchlow for second place on the third lap.

The Yamaha rider said he pushed at “100 percent” to close the gap to Marquez, before the Repsol Honda rider crashed out on the next lap.

“The start was not so bad, I found my way to overtake some riders as fast as I could,” Vinales recalled. “Finally I could arrive back with Cal, it was so difficult to overtake Cal, Cal is a really good braker.

“Then once I overtook Cal, I thought I had to catch Marc because he was going so fast. I was pushing my 100 percent, after I just tried to make my own pace.

“The pace I made in the warm-up, I just made the same, the same laps nearly all the time and Cal was still behind. It was a difficult race to pull away but I’m so happy.”

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