Video: Maverick Viñales 2016 pre-season interview
Maverick Viñales starts his sophomore preseason in MotoGP next week, adjusting to some big rule changes in testing.
After two months without being able to ride his Suzuki due to the winter testing ban, Maverick Viñales will be reunited with his GSX-RR from next Monday in Sepang (Malaysia) -scene of the first test of 2016. Last season’s MotoGP Rookie of the Year has been working hard over the past few months in preparation for the upcoming campaign, in which he has his eye on a place in the Top 6.
The Team Suzuki Ecstar rider explains his training in the winter break, comments on the many regulation changes for the premier class and sets out his targets for 2016.
It has been two months without you being able to get onboard your Suzuki. How have you been preparing for your second season in MotoGP?
“I’ve trained very hard for fitness, both in the gym and doing motocross -a sport that I do as a hobby but that is also useful for my preparations. These have been the two mainstays of my work this winter.”
Some riders opt for dirt-track or supermotard for training. What is it that made you choose motocross?
“First of all, MX is one of my favorite sports. It is a discipline that, besides pushing you physically, helps you to prepare mentally. It’s hard, and what I like most is how the track changes from one lap to the next. You need to be thinking all the time when you are on the bike, something I’m sure will be helpful for MotoGP.”
What aspect of it helps you when riding a MotoGP bike?
“They are two different ways to ride, but the way you have to act and think on the bike is very similar.”
We’ve also seen you ice racing. How was that experience? What do you work on in those conditions?
“It’s the second time I have been to Finland and ridden snowmobiles. It looks like a very slippery surface, but you use specific tyres that offer a lot of grip. You can lean the bike over a lot, so despite being a tough sport, you have a lot fun.”
A couple of weeks ago you were at Valentino Rossi’s ranch. What did you think of the facilities and the atmosphere there?
“There’s a great atmosphere and it’s fun. Valentino [Rossi] has a huge circuit which is very nice and I think everyone has a lot of fun riding. It’s a bit strange to ride there, because it’s totally different to dirt-track or motocross, but as bike lovers we had a great time.”
There’s still a lot of preseason to go, but in November you got to do a little testing. What goals have you set yourself for your second season in MotoGP?
“This year, both Suzuki and I have more ambitious goals. We’d like to finish in the top six in every race, which I think is a good target, but of course it will be difficult to make happen. I am very motivated.”
This season some major changes are being introduced in the premier class. The most important is the switch to Michelin tyres and the Magnetti Marelli ECU. Do you think the rule changes will be favourable for you?
“You can never say that changes will be favourable, because in the end we are all starting from scratch with new tyres and electronics, and everyone has their own development. We all start from the same base. Our first contact with the Michelins was very positive, and in the last test in Malaysia we tried some laps with the new electronics and I liked it a lot.”
In the November test you debuted the seamless gearbox. What do you expect from Suzuki for the upcoming test in Malaysia?
“Above all, I hope we have a bike with more power. This preseason we will have a bike that has evolved over a full year of competition, so unlike last year we can work on other things. I remember last season I had to do a lot of work with the tyres, which were new to me, and the setup. From next week we will focus on electronics. Although there have only been two tests for us with Michelin, I think I know them enough that we can focus on other aspects.”
There have only been a few days of testing under the new regulations, but how do you imagine the 2016 MotoGP season? Do you think we will see more equality?
“We all have the same rules to follow, so we all start with the same conditions. The ones who evolve their bike the most are the ones who will be up at the front, so I think we have to be smart and work our utmost every day if we are to be further ahead than last year. I think with the changes that have come in this year, the competition may be more even.”
Source: Maverick Viñales Media