Vinales’ Adaptability Could Be Rossi’s Death Knell

Maverick Vinales, newcomer at MotoGP team Movistar Yamaha has proven there is one path he knows well, and that’s adaptability. Could this be his trump card against Rossi?

VALENCIA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 13: Valentino Rossi of Italy and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rounds the bend during the MotoGP of Valencia - Race at Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo Circuit on November 13, 2016 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 13: Valentino Rossi of Italy and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rounds the bend during the MotoGP of Valencia – Race at Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo Circuit on November 13, 2016 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)

We’ve always known that Vinales was fast. Blazingly so – just check those Sepang tests back during the ’16 off-season. Many have been speculating just what it is that this 22-year old has on the competition, and if it’s worth any credence, Yamaha’s new crew chief Ramon Forcada has narrowed it down to one trait: adaptability.

“What he adapts to most is the small details, which means we don’t waste time. For example, we raise the seat height because we think it fits the bike better, and he just adapts to that position. Since we started working, Maverick has tried many different parts and has made it clear which chassis he likes more, which swing-arm is best, which engine. He knew the difference between the Suzuki and the Yamaha before getting on the bike. I didn’t think he could have had it so clear, but the fact is he did, just by following others on track.” – Ramon Forcada

Some folks have been questioning the “equal treatment” that riders receive for major teams like Yamaha for years now. Back when Lorenzo donned the blue, his fans would always bemoan the fact that believed he was always second to Rossi – being given second say on development choices.

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 19: Maverick Vinales (L) and Valentino Rossi attend 'Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2017' presentation at Telefonica building on January 19, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN – JANUARY 19: Maverick Vinales (L) and Valentino Rossi attend ‘Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2017’ presentation at Telefonica building on January 19, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)

Even if that were true – probably standing a slim chance on that one – such a fact wouldn’t even matter to Vinales. The way that he’s been riding he’d just take whatever he was given and run laps around the rest.

Bold words, I know, but given Maverick’s approach and Rossi’s additional tally on the “oldest rider ‘round here” chart, I think the Italian superstar could have more than he bargained for in his new teammate.