Vinales was a contender for victory for most of the Misano MotoGP before fading when Francesco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini ramped up the pace wth seven laps to go.
Still, Vinales once again showed that a first victory with Aprilia is not far away, while again getting the better of team-mate Aleix Espargaro which is the second time that’s happened on merit in the last three races.
Seemingly much more settled with Aprilia than at any stage with Yamaha, Vinales finally feels like consistency has become a big strength, which results indicate to be the case.
Asked if he feels vindicated by moving to Aprilia and that his complaints whilst at Yamaha, who are still struggling for performance were justified, Vinales added: “It’s hard to answer. But apart from jokes, we are doing a good job. I remember we started here one year ago and straight away I felt a good potential on the bike and I felt I could be good.
“I needed a process to adapt to the bike and the bike was totally different [to Yamaha] and a new bike. However, step-by-step I’m getting better and I’m getting used to it.
“The important thing is already on Friday I started with a good feeling. Then I can improve during the weekend.
“What I like the most is that normally the lap time I do in FP4 is the same I do in the race, so it gives you a lot of confidence and gives you a lot of calmness that you are going to be fast. Now it looks like I’m good at starts, good on first laps and I’m consistent. I’m not up and down.
“We improve the atmosphere and how the team works. Aprilia and the whole Piaggio group is working really strong to catch those [Ducati] guys. We cannot stop and we have to keep focusing and believing we can arrive for the victory.”
Vinales ‘never gave up’ at Aprilia despite tough times
While it took Vinales a while to show the level of performance that he’s currently displaying at Aprilia, their decision to retain him beyond 2022 is proving to be the correct one.
“More than [being] proud, I never gave up even one tenth,” said Vinales. “I know the potential I have and I knew from the first day about the potential that Aprilia had and [that they] can arrive [at the top].
“I’m very happy about the results and I’m enjoying the races a lot. I’m very happy.”
Ducati riders Bagnaia and Bastianini ‘had extra’ in Misano MotoGP battle
After lining up a move on Bagnaia with eight laps to go, Vinales was instead passed by Bastianini who seized his opportunity at turn one.
Vinales was unable to respond, instead seeing the two Ducatis break clear as he suggested a different strategy should have taken place.
Vinales added: “They had a little bit extra [in the end] but in the beginning they were struggling. Maybe I make another strategy and go calm at the beginning and then push at the end because there are two or three races that I arrived with some problems [at the end].
“But what can I say, I’m sitting here and very proud of Aprilia. It’s the time to make the next step.”