Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales says he feels the only positive he can take from the European Grand Prix is that his fellow Yamaha brethren struggled as much as he did.
Despite having his race compromised from the beginning after starting from the Ricardo Tormo circuit’s pit-lane at the due to taking a sixth engine of the 2020 campaign, Vinales was unable to make up much ground in the overall race classification despite significant attrition as a result of a severe lack of pace.
He eventually took the flag 13th and over 25 seconds down on race winner Joan Mir, ahead of only Fabio Quartararo who suffered similarly poor speed after remounting his M1 after a lap one skirmish.
With Valentino Rossi’s race return cut short after just five tours owing to a likely electrical problem, Quartararo’s team-mate Franco Morbidelli was the only of Yamaha’s contingent to have a clean race, though the Italian likewise suffered to extract any performance from the M1.
He finished only 11th, 17.6 seconds down on Mir’s race winning Suzuki despite winning the previous event at Aragon just two weeks prior.
A frustrated Vinales says “it’s difficult to understand” why the bike “isn’t working anymore”, though claimed he is able to remain “calm” about Yamaha’s current situation due to its issues afflicting all its riders.
“The positive is that the other Yamaha riders didn’t pull away, this is my good point of the day because all of us are in trouble so this keeps me quite calm,” said Vinales.
“It’s difficult with the current situation because our level is not at the maximum and our competitors are really strong, but we’re going to try and improve and to work a bit more.
“For me the most frustrating thing is why the bike isn’t working anymore, this is more annoying by the championship (slipping away) because all you really want to do is be able to win races.
“It’s hard because it’s difficult to understand why the bike suddenly doesn’t work, we had a win in Austria and at Montmelo we finished third, we don’t know why the situation is so difficult.”
Vinales’ title hopes look to now be all but over after slipping to 42 points behind series leader Mir with just 50 left on the table across the final two events, having failed to stand on the podium since his victory in the Emilia Romagna GP at Misano in the middle of September.
Yamaha’s hopes of securing the constructors crown also look to be in tatters owing to the 50 point penalty the manufacturer sustained after being found guilty of running illegal valves in its engines for the Spanish GP at the start of the year, while its current form offers little hope in it being able to turn-around its current 25 point deficit to Suzuki in just two encounters.