The nine-time MotoGP race winner rode the RS-GP for the first time at a private test at Misano on Tuesday and Wednesday following his dismissal from the factory Yamaha squad earlier this month.
Aprilia has now confirmed Vinales – who has signed a deal to race for the marque for 2022 – will make his race debut in next weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix.
Commenting on his first outing with Aprilia at the test, Vinales says he quickly found a “positive feeling” with the RS-GP having initially been apprehensive about riding the bike.
“When I arrived, I felt a giant pressure, I was nervous,” Vinales told Sky Sports Italy.
“I spent so much time on a different type of bike, but after the first run I was calm, because I found a positive feeling with the bike.
“I like the atmosphere in the garage, and I think these tests will help us to be more relaxed for the race weekend.
“Everything has been very positive and I am ready for Aragon.”
Vinales says his early race debut with Aprilia at Aragon is “important” as it’s only under grand prix conditions where he will properly be able to understand the bike.
“I feel a normal feeling, because for me it wasn’t normal to be at home,” Vinales added.
“I was able to stay calm and practice, but I’m very happy with this opportunity because it was very important to go to the race right away, because [I need] to understand how the bike behaves in those conditions.
Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Photo by: Aprilia Racing
“It’s true that we tested it for two days here and I’m happy, but you need a race weekend to see where you are.”
Vinales admits he is nowhere near his limit yet on the bike, but praised the effort both Aleix Espargaro and Lorenzo Savadori have done in developing the 2021 RS-GP.
“I still have to improve a lot, for sure I’m far from being able to give my best, because the bike is very different, also the engine, so I still have to understand it a little bit,” Vinales explained.
“But I think both Aleix and Lorenzo have done a good job and the bike is at a very high level.
“There is a difference, but it’s not a big one, so I think I can improve a lot in a short time.
“I’m still a long way from being able to push to the maximum, but the time comes pretty easy to me and that’s important.”
One of the biggest differences for Vinales coming from the Yamaha to the Aprilia is the engine, with the Spaniard having been used to an inline four-cylinder engine as opposed to the V4 of the RS-GP.
“I noticed a lot of difference because it’s a totally different feature,” Vinales said of the difference in engine.
“I have to learn something in terms of the lines on the track, because they are slightly different: I was used to doing more [flowing lines], but with this bike you can [accelerate] much later.
“What I really liked was the engine braking, but also the first touch of the throttle is good, and I think that can be good in the wet.”