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Trust propels Viñales back to the front at fast-rising Aprilia

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

The Spanish rider credits Aprilia management for the team's resurgence.

Spanish MotoGP™ ace Maverick Viñales has credited Aprilia Racing teammate Aleix Espargaro's insight and the management style of the team's sporting director Massimo Rivola as key factors behind his resurgence as a MotoGP™ force this season.

Viñales, 27, joined Aprilia for five races at the end of last season after parting ways with Yamaha in acrimonious circumstances midway through the 2021 campaign, the nine-time MotoGP™ race-winner's career seemingly at a crossroads. Viñales' first full season with Aprilia has coincided with the Italian outfit becoming a front-running force in 2022, with the Spaniard taking consecutive podium finishes at the recent Dutch TT and British Grand Prix.


Speaking to the Australian Grand Prix Corporation's official podcast In the Fast Lane, Viñales said Espargaro's honesty convinced him to join Aprilia, while Rivola's approach – one honed from years working with Formula 1® teams Ferrari and Minardi – has resonated with him.

"Aleix as a person was very important for me for the decision (to join Aprilia) because I trust him," Vinales said.

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"I needed to understand from another vision what Aprilia was doing, what Aprilia was improving, and he gave me a lot of confidence.

"I never met Massimo before I joined Aprilia, but Massimo is a guy who is very committed. He pushes me a lot every day – even at Silverstone when I finished the race (in second place), he told me ‘you could win that race … focus, because that is not your roof'.

"We are very clear to each other, very honest, and this is the important thing to improve. It's good to have a boss like that, because you can improve and share your emotions."

Viñales returns to Australia this October for the Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2022 with one of the most imposing records of the 24 riders set to tackle the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. A win in Moto2™ (2014) preceded another for Yamaha in MotoGP™ in 2018, while he crashed on the final lap of a race-long duel with Honda's Marc Marquez for the victory when the series last visited the Island in 2019.

"It took a lot of hours, and I never understood jet lag until I went to Australia!," Viñales laughed when reflecting on his first visit to Phillip Island as a 16-year-old 125cc rider in 2011.

"It's one of the best tracks of the world, and I understand that when I went to MotoGP because this last corner was quite crazy.

"I've been very successful in Phillip Island, and this year the team is always saying to me 'you will see, in Phillip Island the bike is working fantastic' … so let's go to win it. When I see the calendar, I always see Phillip Island as a win because I feel fantastic on this track."

The In The Fast Lane podcast is available on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts platforms.

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