Maverick Viñales interview: Reflections and ambitions
We’ve always liked Maverick here at Vroom: and the talent that was visible right from the start is now maturing impressively in the MotoGP class. Cristian Ramon Marin Sanchiz talked to the Suzuki rider ahead of the Valencia GP weekend.
How do you face this weekend?
Well, very motivated. I fell in Japan, but we were doing really well in Australia. We had the best result of the year and in Malaysia was a shame we did a bad start. Nevertheless we recovered nearly seven seconds to Aleix, and we could have fought for the fifth or sixth.
Do you like the Ricardo Tormo circuit?
Yes, and it is a track that brings me good memories.
You’re officially the best rookie of the 2015 season in the premier class. Did you expect it before arriving?
It was me or Jack [Miller], and he had bad luck and some ups and downs. For this reason, it was not very difficult. We are happy, it was a goal of the season, but what we really wanted was to finish races 20 seconds ahead of the top three riders. In Australia it was really spectacular.
You lacked this title to complete the ‘trio’ and be the best rookie on 125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP. Was it a goal?
No. The goal was to learn a lot, but it’s clear that when you start the season you want the title. I was not aware that I was fighting for him, I knew that I had to learn and try to give my maximum.
For the third time this season, Bridgestone brings an asymmetric front tire to a Grand Prix. Do you think you it can work well here?
Yes. In Australia, Bridgestone’s asymmetric slick worked very well, although many riders crashed braking on the hard side. I think we will not need it because of the heat. We will see during the warm-up and practice.
Last year you could not end up here because of an accident with Kallio. What result would make you ending the year on a right way?
The result does not matter, what matters is that the distance to the first three is less than ten seconds. That would be a great result again.
And do you see it feasible?
We have to work. When I arrived in Australia I saw it not feasible, so I have to work and make a good start. It’s been almost a season since you tried for the first time the GSX-RR.
What has changed on your style since your rode it from the first time?
Many things. Tyres and electronics, changed. Now I understand the bike more and I know what I want. For Malaysia already improved a lot.
Have you learnt to get a good set up on the bike since you’re on MotoGP?
In Moto2 you could afford that a bad Friday. If you are not going too well, you can fix it on Saturdya. Here, if you do not put de maximum on Friday, it is impossible to fix it for Sunday. I have learned to transmit sensations to the team as quickly as possible.
And leaving aside what can be achieved with the set-up, what has improved the bike?
He has greatly improved electronics. It is another planet compared to the beginning of the season. We have also greatly improved the chassis, although we failed on the engine. We have received two evolutions, but very small. That is what has really stopped our evolution, because we had very good line, and that is what has prevented us from making really good results. Once the engine reaches have the potential to fight, we can make good results.
Would you change something in the way of working with the team?
We can improve, especially in the experience. It is a new team, I am also new, and we usually lose Friday’s work because you have to get ready the electronics. For next year that will be fixed and we can begin giving the maximum from minute one.
Now you mention electronics… Do you think something will change next year?
For us will be better. I don’t know what the other teams have done. I think Yamaha has worked for some time with her, and Ducati is more or less like us. I think most disadvantaged will be Honda.
How do you think the Michelin will work with your riding style?
I think it will be fine, our bike has so much weight in front, which ultimately is what is important: many people fell because he didn’t have it with the new tyre. Aleix also tried it, so I think we will be pretty good. We’ll see how they evolve between now and the beginning of the 2016 season.
A few weeks ago, Aleix confirmed that the bike would have no list of 2016 for post-Grand Prix of Valencia test. Suzuki has decided to bring some improvement last minute?
It would not be right to bring the bike in 2016 to test here. We have no data about Michelin, and if we ride with the new bike too, wouldn’t know where we are. So we must make the most of the bike with Michelin and then include improvements. It’s the smartest way. I really think Suzuki is doing a good job, because I think it’s important to know the behavior of the bike with Michelin.
So it is a strategic decision and not a lack of evolution?
Yes, of course.
What is the balance of the season?
We are where we wanted to be even later. I managed two sixth, seventh, some eighth, ninth and tenth … The goal was to get into the points, so we’ve had a great season.
In that process of evolution, how has Aleix helped you?
It’s a good thing that he and I make the same comments, so Suzuki can’t be missed. They can’t choose between two paths. We’re all going in one direction, and that’s what makes the bike improve.
What results do you expect for next season?
I hope to be consistently in the top six, and more than a career to fight for the podium. If Suzuki makes a good bike, the team and I have the potential to be ahead.
Last year you said in an interview that if Marc Márquez can do something, you too. Will we see a Maverick Viñales MotoGP champion?
I hope so. That’s what I’m working and that I get up and train two or three hours a day and give the maximum. In the end, this year has followed the logical process: the bike was new. When it worked, I gave my hundred percent and I was there. As a rider I lack experience, but I can go fast. So it is that both Suzuki and I give the maximum and the result will come alone.
If ever you get it, will it be with Suzuki?
Reliving the achievements of Schwantz would be a dream, but a rider must follow its own way and not stagnate because a bike is undeveloped. I wish it was with Suzuki.