Suzuki rider Maverick Vinales feels his showing in last weekend’s Argentinian GP was his best yet since graduating to MotoGP, despite crashing out.
Vinales had been closing down Valentino Rossi in the fight for second at Termas de Rio Hondo, and was set for his maiden premier class podium before crashing out on a damp patch at Turn 1 with three laps to go.
Notwithstanding the disastrous end to his race, the Spaniard – who is yet to finish higher than sixth in a MotoGP race – said his performance was the strongest of his top-line career so far.
"I believe it was my best race in MotoGP,” said Vinales. “I was fighting for the podium and with a great pace, so for the moment I'm happy and positive for [the next race in] Austin.
"Of course I thought I could pass Rossi – I was much faster than him and I think I had the pace to overtake him.
“The result it's a shame, but I'm really happy that we showed our potential. We're not ready to be in the podium, but we took the bike beyond the limit.”
He added: "Our target was the top six. It was like that this time, we had good pace. We took advantage and I was really taking 100 percent of my bike.”
Asked if the peculiar circumstances of the Argentina race, which featured a compulsory bike swap, played a part in his competitiveness, Vinales simply said: "My pace was really fast, very similar to Marc [Marquez]'s and Valentino's, who I think were both really quick".
Additional reporting by Federico Faturos