Vinales says Yamaha could still salvage 2018 MotoGP title bid
|By Jamie Klein and David Gruz||Tuesday, July 3rd 2018, 13:30 GMT|
Maverick Vinales believes he could still challenge runaway leader Marc Marquez for the 2018 MotoGP title if Yamaha can provide a "big" update after the summer break.
Vinales scored only his second podium of 2018 at Assen last weekend, narrowly missing out on second to Alex Rins, and is now 47 points adrift of Marquez in the standings.
But after his third place, Vinales said a step from Yamaha - including improvements to its electronics package - could give him a chance to fight for the championship.
"I'm hoping [during] the summer break Yamaha can bring something big and we can have the chance to fight for the title," he said.
"I am happy, we recovered a lot of confidence in the weekend, especially in the race.
"I felt good with a full tank, even better in the last laps of the race because [it] was difficult, we prepared the bike for the first laps.
"I hope the problems are fixed. Still on the electronics we need to improve a lot because compared to [Yamaha's] opponents I think we are far [away].
"But I think the way we [prepared] this weekend was the correct one - working a lot for the race, not for one lap.
"Our bike is at a good level, the chassis is really good in the fast corners. I felt great."
Vinales' team-mate Valentino Rossi believes challenging for the title will be "very hard" due to Assen winner Marquez's pace, and instead thinks he is part of a "great fight" for runner-up spot in the points.
"Marquez was the strongest and he fought [in a multi-rider battle at the start of the race] but he had a margin to go alone," said Rossi, who is six points ahead of Marquez and second in the standings.
"At the end he decided to go and he finished two seconds [ahead].
"It's difficult because he's faster than us, but he's also faster than everybody else. So I think the championship will be very hard.
"But we have a great fight for the second place, with another two or three riders minimum.
"We have to try and hope we [can] improve the bike for the end of the season. But it's not very easy."