MotoGP title contender Maverick Vinales was inspired to turn off the launch control on his factory Yamaha at Le Mans after watching a practice start by KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa, at the recent Portimao test.
“In Portimao I saw Pedrosa start without electronics. It seemed so fast. I tried, tried and tried. In practice it was really good. Better than the normal start. But in the race it was so difficult,” Vinales said at Aragon on Thursday.
“I need more practice starts to be competitive. I will continue trying. I will try to do it in my way and I will try to be more competitive than the last race.”
Vinales, who dropped from fifth on the grid to outside the top ten by the first chicane in France, said the problem was the noise of the other bikes alongside.
At Aragon this weekend he will therefore, “try with more bikes around. It can be a really good start [without launch control]. I will believe in the start.”
The Spaniard is still using the holeshot device to lower the back of his Yamaha and has the normal traction control available: “The only thing I don’t use is the launch control.
“I’m trying [without launch control] because sometimes it doesn’t work the same. In practice, it’s 5 litres [of fuel]. When you are on the race it’s 20 litres on the bike. It’s pretty different, the feeling.”
Launch control ‘like a pitlane limiter’
Asked about Vinales’ tactic, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow explained that launch control really only limits the revs available.
“It’s just a rev limiter. It’s like a pitlane limiter, nothing more than that,” the Englishman said.
“What we would class as launch control is just a limiter that means you can’t rev the bike more than a certain point and when you release the clutch it stays at that level and doesn’t accelerate past that until a certain speed.
“It is quite an easy thing to do, as such. I play with mine a lot, the RPM. Depending on the circumstances of the start. I might say I need 500 RPM more, or more or less torque, depending on how far you have to go.
“In Barcelona I had a lot of torque off the start because I wanted to gain a lot of metres in the start, which I did, but then everyone’s holeshot device was working after that and I lost a lot of time.
“Starts are important, but I think qualifying is more important to be honest.”
Vinales begins this weekend holding fourth in the world championship, 19 points from fellow Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo.