Maverick Vinales said his bike behaved like a “normal Yamaha” again during the Thailand Grand Prix, as most of his gains came from fast corners.
Yamaha’s historical strong suit has been fast, flowing corners, which traditionally made the Iwata team the favourite on tracks such as Assen or Phillip Island.
However, during its recent struggles, Yamaha has been unable to capitalise on that strong trait, and has not won a race for 24 grands prix now.
But Vinales and Valentino Rossi made a big step forward in Thailand, with the former taking the team’s first podium in five races and the latter finishing a close fourth.
Vinales explained that he could take advantage of the bike’s strength in fast corners again around Buriram.
“Honestly, it is quite strange because in Aragon I could not lean, was impossible,” said Vinales. “This weekend was [one of] the stronger points.
“Where I felt strongest was sector 2 and 3 where you only have to do [high] speed corners. That is normally our main power, this weekend was actually good, was riding like the normal Yamaha.”
Vinales finished right behind the battling duo of Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso, but admitted that he was not thinking about attacking them as he was more focused on defending third from Rossi.
“In the last lap I was more thinking about what was coming from the back than the front, I know I didn’t have the chance,” he admitted.
“I lost quite a lot in the first part of the acceleration so I could not brake 200 metres later to try to overtake. I just defended the podium [position], and as I saw, many things that we need to improve.”
He added that Yamaha’s recent improvements stem from changes to the bike but also a different tyre than usual, and only in the next race at Motegi will the team learn if it is a temporary or permanent upturn in form.
“I believe it is the changes we did on the bike but the rear tyre is also different,” said Vinales. “For sure it helps us a lot turning the corner let’s see if it is not the rear tyre and if it is the changes we did on the bike.
“Anyway I felt strong on the race, was good, I was as always recovering the gap at the end I was feeling great on the bike.
“I am really curious to see if it was this track and this kind of tyre or the change we did on the bike.”
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