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Vinales Battles to Top Non-Ducati Spot at Le Mans Amid Challenges: A Crucial Points Gain for Aprilia

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Maverick Vinales acknowledges the significance of scoring points during a challenging weekend

Despite battling Ducati valiantly at Le Mans, Maverick Vinales securing a fifth-place finish in the MotoGP race indicates he requires further improvements from the RS-GP to compete more effectively.

In the French MotoGP's qualifying rounds and subsequent races, Aprilia's Maverick Vinales emerged as the leading rider not on a Ducati.

However, the victor at COTA was disheartened to fall from a third-place position in the Sprint to a fifth-place finish in the grand prix, although they managed to maintain a four-second gap from the leader in both the shorter and the standard races.

The race got off to a rocky start as an incident at the first turn caused Vinales to bypass the chicane and drop to fifth place.

"I slowed down to turn off all the equipment, but then the bike vibrated intensely, causing me to lose control and veer off course," Vinales detailed. "Upon rejoining, perhaps I lost too much ground as I dropped from 2nd to 5th place. However, I recognize it was my error, so I accepted it. Following that, my focus was on maintaining a steady pace."

Following Pedro Acosta's pass and subsequent fall, Vinales advanced past his teammate Aleix Espargaro to secure fourth place.

Despite Vinales' efforts, he was unable to hold off Marc Marquez during the race's central laps. However, Fabio di Giannantonio's subsequent long lap penalty allowed the RS-GP competitor to climb back to fourth position. Nonetheless, Enea Bastianini managed to overtake him for that spot on the second-to-last lap.

"Vinales recounted, 'During the race, I was competing closely with Marc and di Giannantonio, sensing an opportunity to advance towards the lead. It appeared we were making progress in closing the distance, yet starting from the 17th lap out of 27, I began experiencing significant issues with the rear tire, which led me to adopt a more cautious approach.'"

"I noticed there was significant space behind me, so my focus was on avoiding errors. Given the challenges of the weekend, securing these points was critical."

Vinales stood out as the sole competitor not on a Ducati among the top seven riders, and despite ranking fifth in the global championship, he is merely ten points behind Francesco Bagnaia, who is in second place.

What is required for him to compete with the leading Ducatis once more?

"Clearly, as we head to Montmelo, there's going to be a lot of anticipation, but it's important for us to remain cautious. It's possible that the Ducati has made significant advancements and could prove to be a formidable competitor on this circuit," Vinales stated.

"For the remaining tracks, we must explore ways to advance to the next phase."

"Some circuits may be more favorable or less so. Initially, I was optimistic about this weekend's performance, but the team had reservations about the suitability for our bike. Ultimately, their assessment proved accurate."

"I made an effort to perform at my highest level, and I'm pleased that, despite the dominance of the top four Ducatis, I managed to be the leading rider beyond them."

Espargaro crossed the finish line in ninth place on Sunday, after experiencing delays due to entanglements with Enea Bastianini and Franco Morbidelli.

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