Vinales: If I'm not fighting to win, it would be my fault

Maverick Vinales admits he would have to “make a big mistake” to not be fighting for victory in MotoGP’s season opener in Qatar on Sunday.

Vinales: If I'm not fighting to win, it would be my fault
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Zeelenberg with Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Signed by Yamaha to replace Ducati recruit Jorge Lorenzo, Vinales topped all four official MotoGP tests since starting with the team last November, and is considered the title favourite by many.

The 22-year-old carried that form into the season proper on Thursday, when he led the way in first practice for the Qatar Grand Prix by 0.596 seconds.

Vinales accepts that what happens during Sunday’s 22-lap race rests on his shoulders, given the pace his Yamaha has.

“Not fighting for victory on Sunday would be disappointing,” he said. “I would have to make a big mistake. The bike is perfect and if I'm not fighting to win it would be my fault.

“In the end winning or not depends on many things, but not being fighting for victory would mean that I have not given my hundred percent.”

Vinales led the way for the bulk of the first practice session, and set two laps on his final run good enough to finish ahead of his closest challenger, Honda rider Marc Marquez.

The Spaniard was also buoyed by his pace on earlier runs during the 45 minutes.

“I put one [soft rear] tyre in and did my best,” Vinales said. “And when I do my best on that bike I can go really fast. I did many laps in [1m]55s, with the race tyre, so that’s great.

"I feel comfortable on the bike. When you have confidence in the front like this, you can push. 

“We still have to work on the electronics a little bit, I think in some places we have too much power, and I improved a lot with my riding style in sector two.

“That was important me for, because in the test I was not so fast there. Happy for that.

“I pushed 100 percent today, and I’ll do it again tomorrow and the next day. I’m the rider who always pushes.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

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