Fantastic recovery sees Maverick Viñales finish #QatarGP in 4th, Aleix Espargaro DNF
The fourth-place finish today in the Qatar race was undoubtedly disappointing for Maverick Viñales, who made a spectacular comeback ride from ninth place. Only eighty thousandths of a second separated him from a final result that was within his potential. After the accident yesterday which had even made his participation today doubtful, Aleix rode in the Warm-up and then decided to join the 21-lap race. However, the pain in his left leg, specifically the lack of feeling in his foot, forced him to retire during the seventh lap.
After starting from the third row, Maverick found himself in ninth place during the opening lap. After an initial period of settling in, he began his comeback, encouraged by an outstanding race pace. However, the inevitable time lost overtaking had left him with a gap of over three seconds behind the podium, a distance that the Spanish rider stubbornly reduced to zero, even attempting to overtake on the final turns. The awareness of his potential at the end of the race is the best precedent for the final round in Valencia and for his continued adventure with Aprilia.
The balance we found this weekend on the RS-GP is, in my opinion, the best of 2023. That is the truly positive thing. The path has been mapped out and we are well aware of the technical direction that needs to be followed. At the risk of sounding repetitive, once again, having to recover ground makes everything harder and keeps me from achieving the results which – in terms of pace – we deserve. With the speed that we then demonstrate in the race, improving in qualifiers and the race start must be our mantra from now until the start of the next season.
I wanted to give it a go today, but at a certain point, I lost feeling and strength in my left foot so I was unable to work the gear shifter. Even in the Warm-up, I noticed this risk. The hours of rest ahead of the race weren’t enough time to fully recover. Knowing our pace, it’s a pity, but I was unable to continue. Now focus to Valencia where I hope to arrive at physical fitness that will be sufficient to finish the season well.