A happy and apparently very relaxed Maverick Viñales won the season opener at Losail. An unexpected result perhaps, considering the Ducatis speed around the Qatari circuit, but one that the Spaniard achieved by riding his Yamaha to perfection.

A bike - the 2021 version of the M1 - that finally appears to meet Maverick's needs, thanks also to the big contribution that new test rider Cal Crutchlow is making.

Renewed feeling

"We know what our strength is and how to exploit it, this is the important thing. It had been a long while since I felt the kind of potential I had today (race day), that Yamaha DNA”, explained Viñales after the race. “I felt I was able to make a big difference by exploiting our speed through the turns, something I hadn’t felt for a long time".

According to Maverick, the Brit’s talent lies in his ability to immediately know how to steer development. “Cal really understands the bike’s potential and the direction to take. This allows us to focus solely on the racing. I have to say he’s doing a great job".


There are many similarities between the 2013 Moto3 champion and the former British rider, more so than we might think from the outside. As Maverick himself explains: We’re very similar and this surprised me actually. I remember trying his bike on the last day of testing and I immediately felt comfortable. These things help me focus on the races”.

"And this is why all I want is to do more tests with Cal and work with him to improve further. We have the same ideas and very similar feeling aboard the bike, it’s fantastic”.

A different approach

A harmony that wasn’t there before, when work on the M1 never seemed to come to fruition. "It’s a totally different mentality to last year, because sometimes we had to test too many things. Now we know that if Cal says something is good, it means it will be good. I believe in him. Cal will now have another test and work mainly on power delivery. We can’t have it all, but I’d like more top speed”, concludes the current world championship leader.

Translated by Heather Watson

MotoGP, Viñales appears calmer without Rossi in the Yamaha garage