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Vinales can’t “comprehend” Aprilia’s disappearing MotoGP practice pace

Maverick Vinales has conceded he can’t “comprehend” how Aprilia goes from running at the front in Friday practice to being 10 seconds off the pace over the course of a MotoGP race weekend.

Since Vinales’s emphatic victory in the Americas Grand Prix in April, Aprilia is yet to add another podium finish to its tally and is fighting to remain second in the manufacturers’ standings with KTM.

In last weekend’s German Grand Prix, the RS-GP looked rapid on Friday as Vinales broke the Sachsenring lap record in FP2, but come race day it was a completely different story for the Noale-based brand as the Spaniard could only salvage a 12th-place finish after running off the track in the early laps.

Trackhouse duo Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez also slipped down the order after qualifying on the front row behind polesitter Jorge Martin (Pramac), ending up sixth and 10th respectively after the 30-lap race.

Speaking afterwards, Vinales expressed his disappointment at Aprilia’s lack of race pace, as his mistake on lap 7 didn’t account for the entire 18s deficit he faced to race winner Francesco Bagnaia on the factory Ducati.

“It’s a few races that we are not on the level where we want to be and somehow, on Fridays, we are able to arrive on the limit and then it’s hard to go over it. It’s very hard. It’s very difficult. We need to understand why,” said Vinales, who was the only factory Aprilia rider in action after Aleix Espargaro’s withdrawal.

“On Friday it looks like you can fight in the race and then you are 10 seconds away in the race.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I lose at least 12 seconds or more with all the problems, but still I would be six seconds [behind], not fighting with them. It’s interesting to understand.

“I see Miguel’s race also. It looks to me that Miguel had the chance to fight to win the race, also in the morning[warm-up, he was quick]. Then you see [he finished] 10 seconds [behind]. It’s hard to understand, to comprehend.”

Vinales noted that the RS-GP has been struggling to replicate its sheer pace while running in a pack of bikes, saying: “It’s just that the behaviour of the bike is very different when you are in a group and when you are alone.

“I don’t know if we need to approach the weekend in a different way, try to understand more the bike when I’m riding with the group.”

Vinales revealed that the behaviour of the RS-GP varies lap by lap and a software issue could explain why he is lacking the consistency he needs in order to feel confident on the bike.

“It’s the electronics that change a little bit, we don’t understand why,” he said.

“The tyres were very constant, they were working well. [On Saturday] I had a few more issues but no, no, when I was alone, I could do low 1[m]21[s laps] on the rhythm which I think was quite competitive.

“Then suddenly the rear breaks, suddenly I have a lot of wheelie, so we need to try to understand why the bike has this behaviour – one lap, yes, one lap, no. It makes it really unpredictable what you are gonna find out.

“So we need to understand why it’s working one lap one way, then another lap another way and, when I try to attack on brakes, it works a little bit different. so we really need to understand this.”

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