Vinales currently leads Yamaha’s efforts in fifth in the world championship standings, and has so far scored its sole win of the season – just as he’d done the year before.

He was officially eliminated from title contention after the latest race at Aragon, and has fewer than half the points of runaway championship leader Marc Marquez.

Nevertheless, both Vinales and factory teammate have been vocal about the strides Yamaha has taken in 2019.

And when asked by ahead of the Thai GP whether the current season felt like a step forward despite a familiar championship picture, Vinales asserted: “Yes. For sure yes.

“Already it’s much more positive, because we solved a lot of problems during the season.

“And somehow I feel we are growing up. Last season I felt sometimes [we were] going down instead of growing up.

“And I think this year all the steps we do is to be better, and you can see on the results, always [in] practice very consistent, and to get this consistency will get us a better bike, for sure.”

Vinales had endured a poor start to the current campaign but bounced back with four podiums in the past seven starts.

He is in the hunt for third place in the championship, but says his goal for the rest of the season is regular podium appearances rather than any given world championship position.

“My main target is to be in the podium the next races, that’s the first target. And I think it’s the most clear target where we should focus.

“Finally the championship is difficult to focus [on], because we’ve been knocked out [of races] three times, many ups and downs during the season.

“But to get consistency and to finish the season on a really good level will give us a good confidence and for sure good momentum to try the new things [for 2020].”


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