'To go to India is great, it is fantastic for our championship' - Hindustan Times

'To go to India is great, it is fantastic for our championship'

By, New Delhi
Apr 07, 2023 07:36 PM IST

This year, the 28-year-old Spaniard looks like the best non-Ducati rider.

Just like Lt Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, Spaniard Maverick Vinales is quite a non-conformist. Named after the popular protagonist portrayed by Tom Cruise in the 1986 Hollywood movie Top Gun, the MotoGP rider does things his own way which has also got him in trouble a few times in the past. Most famous being the 2021 incident when he split with Yamaha mid-season for allegedly trying to deliberately damage his bike’s engine.

Maverick Vinales(Aprilia) PREMIUM
Maverick Vinales(Aprilia)

But it is his same nature that makes him a daredevil on the track while trying to push his bike beyond its capabilities, which has also resulted in nine victories and 13 pole positions in his eight-year MotoGP career.

This year too, the 28-year-old looks like the best non-Ducati rider who came close to winning the season-opening Portugal Grand Prix. In a video interview, the Aprilia rider discusses MotoGP coming to India, his chances in the championship, and whether Aprilia can end Ducati’s domination among other topics. Excerpts:

Two rounds are over. Do you think Aprilia can challenge Ducati this year?

From Portugal, we learnt that we can fight in the front which is most important. If we work hard and maintain our calm, we will be able to take out the maximum from our bike. We know we can fight for victories. Our main objective and priority is to take out the maximum from each day and each practice.

You were very close to a win in the opening race in Portugal. Did you think a victory was possible?

Of course, I believed in it for a few moments. But it will come. I am completely sure. We need to work the same way, we need to be smart and it is very important to be at the front all the time fighting, taking out good points for the rest of the season.

Do you like the new format of adding a sprint race to every race weekend or do you think it is too much?

I like the format. It puts you in a place where you need to push a lot. You need to push your bike; you need to push yourself to the limit. I like qualifying, I like more races. It can be really good entertainment for the fans but it is also good for the riders because Saturday we have one qualifying and one race. on Sunday we have another race. In other categories, they even do three races in a weekend. I like quite the format a lot.

Which tracks do you think will suit Aprilia this year?

We can be fast in all the circuits. It doesn't matter whether it suits us or not, it is a matter of taking out the maximum. If we do that in Austin (Americas GP), in the next races, we’ll be able to fight (for the championship). Our objective is that, to fight in the front.

Who do you think is the favourite for the championship?

This year there are quite a few favourites. Of course, Pecco (Ducati’s defending champion Francesco Bagnaia) is the guy; is the favourite but during the season things will change quite a lot. It is pretty complicated to make a conclusion after just two races. We need to wait a little bit till we are in Europe. When we do 2-3 races in Europe, we will see who are the guys battling at the front most of the weekend. I can see that a lot of people can be at the front. We will see who is the most consistent. My confidence is high (about winning) but we have to keep our feet on the ground. We know this is a long season. We want to take it one at a time.

There was criticism from some quarters about increasing more races, extending the season. With 21 rounds, 2023 is already the longest season ever.

I am good with it. I am good to go to new places. To go to India is great. It is fantastic for our championship. Next year we will go to more places. That is the championship, that’s the way we ride if we want to become more important, bigger, better, cooler. We need to move on, we need to do more races and that's the point. I like competition, I like racing, of course, I miss my family but that's the job and that’s our passion.

MotoGP will make its India debut this year. Your thoughts?

I have a few things in common with all you guys (Indians). I like the mudras a lot, I like the energy associated with it. I like the culture. Me and my wife have and wear this (mudra) locket. I can’t wait to be there. I always wanted to go to India but never had the chance because as you know the calendar is pretty crazy. This year we have the chance. Me and my wife can’t wait to see the culture, the style which we like quite a lot. I want to see our Indian fans, Aprilia fans. We will try to do great and to fight (at the front) we will need their support.

Have you had any discussions about the circuit with your colleagues?

Not yet. We didn’t have any information about the track and we didn’t speak too much about it with our colleagues. But I speak quite a bit (about India) with my family because this is some place we want to go, visit, maybe take the chance to go to the race and then stay there a few days to visit all the places.

Catch all the Latest T20 World Cup 2024 news and Live Cricket Score along with T20 World Cup Schedule and T20 World Cup Points Table related updates on Hindustan Times Website and APPs

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
Share this article
Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On