MotoGP

Vinales thought being Rossi’s Yamaha MotoGP team-mate would be harder – MotoGP

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Maverick Vinales says he thought being Yamaha MotoGP team-mate to multiple champion Valentino Rossi would be harder than it proved to be.

Vinales switched to Yamaha for the 2017 season after two years with Suzuki and rapidly established himself as pre-season favourite with his performances in testing.

He won three of the first five races but his title challenge stuttered thereafter as Yamaha began to experiment with different chassis types.

Vinales ended up a distant third in the standings, but still managed to outscore Rossi – whose year was interrupted by a broken leg that forced him to skip his home race at Misano.

While Rossi and previous team-mate Jorge Lorenzo had a fractious relationship during their time together, Vinales said the respect between himself and the Italian was still strong despite Yahama’s difficulties in 2017.

“I thought that having Rossi as a team-mate would be harder, honestly,” Vinales told Autosport.

“All in all, we’ve managed everything quite well, we respect each other and that, in the tricky situations we’ve been through, is very important.”

But Vinales denied that Yamaha had neglected his needs in order to provide a package more suited to Rossi, pointing out that he was closely matched with the 38-year-old all season – both when the bike was performing well and when it was struggling.

“When the bike worked, we both were there,” added Vinales.

“In races in which one of us had a good day, the other one had one too.

“I don’t blame Yamaha for anything. The team has given me its 100%, that hasn’t changed.

“I would say that half [of the situation] is Honda and Ducati doing a good job, and the other half is our own shortcomings.”

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