With places three and five, Aprilia achieved the best team performance on MotoGP Friday at Silverstone. Maverick Vinales was only beaten by Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Joan Mir (Suzuki). He finished third, 0.177 seconds down.

    Team-mate Aleix Espargaro in fifth place was also just two tenths off the top. Both drivers were running with the new Aprilia side panels, which Espargaro says works just as well at Silverstone as it did at Assen last time.

    The Spaniard also emphasizes: “We have also improved the ride height device compared to last year. And although I actually prefer not to use it, I can use it a few times here at Silverstone and the bike is very stable.”

    Aprilia side fairing a step forward

    The combination of both – new fairing and improved ride height device – allows “almost 100 percent of the power to be used all the time”, whereas five years ago it was not even 70 percent.

    Regarding the fairing, Vinales says: “We still have to improve a few things. I can’t use the full potential yet. The positive thing is that we’re still fighting at the front. I feel a bit better with the fairing. And in this championship every little step counts.”

    Most recently, the Spaniard’s form curve pointed steeply upwards. At Assen he got his first podium with Aprilia and finished third. “I’m pretty happy with the work we’ve done in the first half of the season,” he says.

    “We quickly found our speed back here. Being in the top 3 already on Friday is always important. It gives you a lot of motivation. Our rhythm with the medium tires looks very good. Now it’s about continuing the same way .”

    Espargaro raves about Vinales’ help

    Vinales is also a great support for Espargaro – especially with a view to the world championship fight. “We worked well together today. He’s always ready to help me. We exchange data and he gives me tips. He’s like a brother. You can feel that he wants this title for Aprilia as well,” says the World Cup runner-up .

    “It’s too early to think about whether Maverick will help me on Sunday. But the fact that he’ll help me on Friday and Saturday is worth a lot. There are a couple of corners that he takes a lot faster than I.”

    Espargaro can’t resist a small dig at Yamaha, where Quartararo is the only driver in the top group: “Certainly Maverick helps me a lot more than the second Yamaha driver helps Fabio.”

    Last year it was still Vinales – before the break with Yamaha came and he switched to Aprilia, also at Espargaro’s insistence. “I know Maverick very well and I’m not surprised. I did a lot for him when he was exhausted,” says Quartararo’s World Cup rival, “and now he’s giving it back to me.”