Will Lusail Circuit help Vinales gun for glory?
The Spanish rider is using Qatar as his training base to launch his challenge for the 2020 MotoGP season.
Spanish rider Maverick Vinales finished this season’s MotoGP — which ended with the final race in Valencia, Spain on Sunday — in third position. He was behind second-placed Italian Andrea Dovizioso and fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez, who won the championship.
This was Vinales’ second third-place finish in his four seasons in MotoGP. Is there a possibility of him moving up in that list? Can the next season be a better one? Can he claim his first world championship? These are questions which he will have to answer going into the new season, which according to the provisional calendar, will kick off with the Qatar MotoGP on March 8 next year.
Vinales’ preparations for a shot at the championship in 2020 will be done in Qatar. The Spaniard will practice at the Lusail Circuit, given that his base in the small town of Andorra in the Pyrenees mountains will be in the middle of a cold winter. Vinales had already agreed to associate with the Qatar Motorsports Academy (QMA) in April this year by sharing his expertise with the academy’s riders. He shifted residence to Qatar in September.
“During winter in Europe, we have to train indoors and I was thinking about a place where we could ride bikes normally. I saw the facilities at the QMA and I was impressed, so I decided to move to Doha when Andorra is covered by snow,” he said.
Vinales said training with riders at the QMA would help him in his preparations for the new season.
“They have very experienced riders, most of them being ex-GP. They go very fast and I need riders that push me. For me being inside the Qatar Motorsports Academy means improving every day. That’s my target,” he said.
Vinales also revealed he was working with Aspire to help him perform better.
“It’s a high-tech training academy that has great facilities and top professionals. We started to develop a programme for motorcycle riders where we are trying to find out how to get better on the bike,” he said.
The 24-year-old Vinales is using Qatar as a springboard to greater achievements. How soon that will come about remains to be seen.