Maverick Vinales: “I Feel Like I’m in Gotham City” After 2024 MotoGP US Grand Prix Win

As Vinales becomes the first MotoGP rider to win three different manufacturers in Grand Prix history.

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Source: X

The 2024 Red Bull MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) will forever be etched in the annals of motorcycle racing history with Maverick Vinales’ name in bright lights as Sonic the Hedgehog waved that checkered flag across the track. 

Coming off yesterday’s Sprint win “Batmav” told reporters that he “felt like he [was] in Gotham City,” adding that as a team they must “dream, believe, and have confidence.”

That Disastrous First Corner

After a dramatic start for both Aprilia drivers Aleix Espargaro and Pinales, that corner turn took Batmav from P1 all the way back to P11. But Vinales never took his eye off the prize as he pulled off what seemed to be an improbable win and becoming the the first rider in MotoGP history to win with three different manufacturers during the Grand Prix – Suzuki, Yamaha, and now Aprilia. 

This morning I had an issue with the clutch and the team was quite worried, so they didn’t really want to touch anything,” Vinales told reporters at the press conference, which True Hollywood Talk attended. “I saw Pedro push me wide, very wide, but because Jorge was also on the inside. This time, I said no! I kept concentrating and believing I could do this. I kept telling myself ‘one at a time, one at a time. It was crazy, but I was enjoying every moment of the race.” 

Vinales has certainly evolved over the years, leaving traces of what happened with Yamaha in 2021 behind him. Having joined the team for the 2017 season, Vinales stayed with them until halfway through the year where at that point, the relationship between the two had completely fallen apart by the time the Dutch Grand Prix came around. 

After discovering that Vinales had deliberately tried to damage his bike’s engine in the Styrian Grand Prix, Yamaha made the difficult decision to terminate their star rider a year prior to the expiration of his contract term. This of course, made for a difficult 2022-2023 season due to the criticism he faced and lack of confidence about similar complaints he said that Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were making in June of last year. 

I think a lot of riders now are complaining, as I was complaining three years ago,” Vinales told Motorsport.com last June. “But in any case, I was riding behind [Yamaha in Germany] and they were struggling. Maybe they will arrive [at Assen] and they are in front, I don’t know. But in the Sachsenring, they struggled a lot.”

Fast forward to today’s race, Vinales has come a long way. “Obviously, my family, especially my wife and two daughters, know very well how much effort we put into this,” he said during the post-race press conference as he delivered a heartfelt tribute to his family. 

“The only thing that will make us happy and relaxed is that victory. They deserve it more than me, because at the end of the day, they are the light and they’ve been the motivation for me to keep going, to keep working. Not everyday is like today, you know? And I compensate them with that victory, and I feel that victory is more for my wife and kids than it is for me. For me, I’m more happy that I never gave up. I came back, and came back – every day, second, and minute. We’ve been doing amazing things.”

Pedro Acosta’s Remarkable Performance

For rookie star Pedro Acosta, his highly anticipated debut in Austin certainly made history as the youngest rider in MotoGP history to claim two back-to-back premier-class podiums. 

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With two back-to-back MotoGP podium finishes in his first three races, the Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 star took P2 during Sunday’s race – only 1.278 behind Vinales – giving his spanish fans all the excitement and more as he crossed the checkered flag. 

Joining both Vinales and Acosta on the podium was Ducati Lenovo’s Enea Bastianini, who at the very end made one last maneuver that allowed him to steal P3 and earned him his first back-to-back podium finishes since 2022. 

Acosta, 19, told reporters that his first race at home in Austin came at a “very good time,” expressing his excitement ahead of the upcoming race in Europe at its historic Circuit de Jerez.  

Joining the Elite

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Vinales’ success at COTA also propelled him into the exclusive company of motorcycle racing legends. Having won back-to-back races for the first time in his MotoGP career since his back-to-back victories in Qatar and Argentina in 2017, Vinales’ form and demeanor has undeniably evolved since his early riding career, which he also attributed to improvements of the aerodynamics. 

Source: X / @MotoGP

It makes you feel very special, because not many riders can do things like that. However, to rise to the top with Aprilia is a dream,” he proudly shared. 

With his victory, Vinales now joins the ranks of Eddie Lawson, Mike Hailwood, Randy Mamola, and Loris Capirossi as just the fifth rider in history to win premier-class races on three different makes of machinery. This achievement speaks volumes about Vinales’ talent, adaptability, and sheer determination to succeed at the highest level of competition.

“I have to say that I have the feeling in the pipe that we are growing up a lot,” Vinales told reporters just after winning yesterday’s sprint. “I like this kind of contact, this message for the fans because at the end of the day, we race thanks to them. These little improvements make a huge step because you’re not the same when you start the race. It’s a totally different mentality and that’s how I feel right now.”

So, at the end of the day, who do you think had the best overtake from the #AmericasGP?

Marc on Pecco or Acosta on Martin?