Maverick Vinales says the feeling he had on his Yamaha in the Qatar MotoGP season opener was better than anything he had experienced for the last six months.
After a difficult winter of pre-season testing, Vinales could do no better than 12th in qualifying at the Losail track, and a poor start resulted in a slump to 15th in the opening two laps.
However, from there the 2017 Qatar winner staged a recovery and fought his way back up to sixth, showing impressive pace in the second half of the race.
Vinales was already left buoyed by set-up changes made on Saturday, despite his poor grid slot, and said after the race that the modifications had transformed his feeling on the factory Yamaha.
"In 20 laps I felt better than all the tests, maybe the last six months, with the bike," said Vinales. "We follow a little bit the way I want the bike and we improve so much, especially in the rhythm.
"The start, honestly in the tests we didn’t try many starts. I was not focussing to find a good bike on the starts, so the start was really bad.
"For the first couple of laps with the electronics I didn’t have enough power. Now we recover quite well the feeling on the bike, especially in the race. Now we have to work in other areas."
Vinales explained the changes made by Yamaha were to do with the stiffness with the bike, which have made the M1 more suited to his riding style.
"Especially from the edge of the engine, where they make the bike stiffer," he said. "It’s something I like. Also harder springs in the front I really like.
"We found a good set-up, but still we can improve, looking more my way of riding style. Also we have to focus on the start and also on one lap."
He added: "Honestly, when you finish the race like that, you want the next weekend to be the next race. I’m quite motivated.
"I felt if today if I was in the front, I could have chance to win the race, so happy the team did great a great job especially on Saturday afternoon."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont