MotoGP

Vinales: Yamaha and me ‘needed’ Phillip Island win ahead of 2019

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Maverick Vinales and his Yamaha team “needed” the “unbelievable” MotoGP victory he scored at Phillip Island to give them a boost into 2019, according to the rider.

The Australian Grand Prix win was Vinales’ fifth in the series and put an end to a 25-race barren streak for Yamaha.

Only two races remain of the 2018 season, and Vinales hopes the triumph will give Yamaha a boost going into next year.

He said: “Honestly, the season has been difficult. I needed that win, we needed that win, Yamaha needed to start next year.

“I said on Friday we need to be good and we need to be motivated to start next year really good.

“[It is an important win] for me because I started to lose a little bit self-confidence, and for Yamaha that I prove I can win races.

“They need to try to provide a bike for my riding style especially in the middle of the corners to turn.

“If we have that, we have the chance to fight. I think if we work well for 2019 we can be strong as we were in 2017.

“We need to be working, the good thing is that I didn’t lose the concentration I didn’t lose the motivation, I am the same as I was last year and that is something really good.

“Next year I will have more experience and I will be better because I know the worst point of being here racing and the better ones.”

Starting second, Vinales had a poor start and was only 10th early on, but then quickly fought his way back into the lead and pulled away.

“[It was an] unbelievable day. First of all, I didn’t expect to start so bad. It was incredible, when I see myself 10th, I just say: ‘man, you are stupid, what are you doing?’.

“During all the weekend I had been in the top three and I just felt good. I just said ‘OK, now I have to push.’

“When I saw myself in a three-second [lead], I said: ‘Now I can relax a little bit’, trying to save the tyre. Anyway, it was close because both Andreas [Iannone and Dovizioso] were coming really fast.

“I didn’t expect to be so fast in the beginning, but finally I made myself try to open enough gap – just in case I went down on the tyre then I could finish the race then in front.”

Vinales warned however that, despite this victory, Yamaha cannot get complacent.

“We have a great chassis but we have to improve the electronics and the engine. I really love the chassis because, as today, I can ride really fast when I have the chassis for my riding style.

“There is a lot to improve and I think Yamaha have a lot of effort.”

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