Maverick Vinales has promised his maiden podium with Aprilia in the Dutch TT is “just the beginning”, the Spaniard confident of a strong second half of the 2022 MotoGP campaign.
Having pressured team-mate Aleix Espargaro for third in the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring a week prior to Assen before being forced to retire with a jammed ride-height device, Vinales enjoyed a strong Dutch outing after recovering from 11th on the grid to take a first rostrum of the year after fending off Jack Miller’s Ducati in the closing laps.
His previous best results on the RS-GP were a pair of sevenths in the Argentinean and Catalan GP’s respectively, and Vinales reckons his recent upturn in form is possible due to a change in strategy within his side of the Aprilia garage in focussing on reaching Q2 in qualifying.
The bulk of his issues so far in 2022 have come as a side-effect of starting deep in the field and not being able to recover despite possessing strong race speed, with the nine-time premier class race winner now convinced he can remain at the forefront of races going forward due to now also being able to “pass lots of riders in the first laps.”
“It’s great, this is the result of all of our hard work,” explained Vinales.
“We’ve all been working so hard during the season, starting from the back but doing good pace that we could never show.
“These last two races we were able to show the potential and push a bit more, it feels fantastic to keep working like that and for the first time I felt really great, this is just the beginning and I can’t wait to get to Silverstone.
“It was a hard race starting from 11th, sometimes it can go well and sometimes it doesn’t but these last two races I’ve found myself passing lots of riders in the first laps which is an amazing improvement from the first years.
“I could keep the rhythm until the end, not with amazing laptimes but always in the 1:32s, I have to thank Aprilia because they always had faith in me and today I have a lot of confidence.”
Vinales added that he now believes he can be “very strong” with the RS-GP at circuits “in previous years I wasn’t strong”, the Spaniard keen to tackle the Red Bull Ring in August as a venue he has always struggle for confidence.
“I’ve learned this year that I can be very strong with the Aprilia on tracks where in previous years I wasn’t strong, so I’m looking forward to Austria because now I can be strong at every track,” continued Vinales.
“From Montmelo we changed the method and always tried to be in Q2, and this has paid off.
“We now have a month off, which I don’t like because I love racing, but I know we’ll come back even stronger after the break.”