Maverick Vinales takes a different approach to setting up the RS-GP than Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia is therefore exploring completely new areas
Aleix Espargaro has been riding for Aprilia since the 2017 MotoGP season and has become the “captain” of the Italian brand. When an all-new RS-GP was developed for 2020, his feedback was instrumental. That still has an impact today.
Maverick Vinales joined Aprilia in the summer of 2021. After years with Suzuki and Yamaha, the Spaniard first had to get used to the V4 engine, which demands completely different lines. It took time for Vinales to become competitive.
After one year, Vinales captured his first podiums. He started the 2023 season with second place at the opening round in Portugal. Most recently at Silverstone, he finished third in the sprint. In the Grand Prix he was also in the leading group, but eventually finished fifth.
“The thing is that the bike was built for one rider, for one riding style,” Vinales reflected on the overall situation after Britain. “We try to adapt the bike for my riding style.”
“Sometimes we have to take risks [in the set-up] because of that. We have to understand what is good for me, how I ride. That’s the way.” Because with the tight gaps, everything has to fit to have a chance of top results.
“At the moment our bikes are different. Aleix demands one thing, my riding style another. We are exploring areas that Aprilia never did. Sometimes you can have nothing left of the tyre six laps before the end of the race. “
That’s exactly what happened to Vinales at Silverstone, which is why he was unable to fight for the win in the end, while Espargaro took the second MotoGP win for Aprilia. Nevertheless, Vinales was not crestfallen after the race.
“I like that I felt I was able to fight for the win,” the 28-year-old stressed. “I’ll take that with me to keep building at home and come back stronger.” Looking back, his move to Aprilia has paid off.
Yamaha is currently unable to match its old successes in sporting terms. Vinales also feels much more comfortable and in better hands in the team at Aprilia than at Yamaha. With Jose Manuel Cazeaux, he is working again with his crew chief from Suzuki days.
“I’m in a good place,” Vinales points out with a smile on his face. “What’s good is that I’m mentally on the attack. That’s fantastic because at other times I was too calm and waiting.”
“Now I’m trying to attack. I have to overtake. I try to do my best in every lap. We have to keep working. To start the second half of the season like this is fantastic to be honest. “