Viñales was born in Figueres, Spain, on January 12th, 1995. He began racing in minimotos at just three years of age before moving onto motocross. In 2002 his passion for speed brought him to circuit racing. He competed in the Catalonian 50cc Championship and followed it up with several successful seasons in the 70cc “metrakit” bikes.
Viñales got hold of the Catalonian 125cc Champion Title in 2007, successfully defended his crown in 2008 and won the Mediterranean Trophy that same year. In 2008 he also competed at selected events in the German IDM 125GP Championship for RZT Racing aboard an Aprilia RS 125 R, achieving a best result of seventh. In 2009, he moved up to the CEV Buckler 125GP series, partnering with Miguel Oliveira in the Blusens-BQR team. Viñales secured the Rookie of the Year award, finishing the season as the runner-up to Alberto Moncayo in the championship standings by just four points. Viñales claimed four successive podiums during the season.
In 2010, Viñales and Oliveira joined different Blusens’ teams and battled it out for the championship title. Despite winning two races to Oliveira’s four, Viñales won the title by two points, thanks to finishing on the podium at all seven races of the season. The European Championship Title was also decided between the two riders and again it was Viñales who came out on top.
The Spaniard moved to the 125cc World Championship ahead of the 2011 season with the SuperMartxé VIP team. He impressed during pre-season testing at Valencia and finished ninth on his Grand Prix début in Qatar.
After retiring at Jerez due to a technical issue, Viñales finished fourth at Estoril, narrowly missing out on a podium to Johann Zarco in a photo finish, with a margin between the pair of just 0.002s. Two weeks later at Le Mans, Viñales took his first front-row grid start with a third place and went on to seal his first victory by 0.048s at the age of 16 years, 123 days.
This incredible performance made him the third-youngest rider to win a
Grand Prix race, behind Scott Redding and Marco Melandri.
Securing three further victories that same season, Viñales finished his first
grand prix season in third place in the championship rankings and claimed
the Rookie of the Year award.
He went into the 2012 season as title favourite in the newly formed Moto3 championship. He won five races on the Blusens Avintia FTR Honda early on in the season, but his lack of consistency, some misfortunes and a dispute with his team resulted in a missed race in Malaysia, which allowed Cortese to win the title and Luis Salom to snatch second in the final standings.
The next year, Viñales moved to Team Calvo alongside Ana Carrasco. He won his first two races back-to-back at the Spanish and French Grands Prix and kept his competitive form throughout the season, fighting at the front of the field. Viñales, Rins and Salom went into the final round with a gap of five points across all of them. The championship was decided in Valencia by a battle between Rins and Viñales. In the end Viñales took the race victory and the Moto3 World Championship Title by a twelve-point margin.
The Moto3 World Champion then signed a Moto2 contract with Pons Racing, joining former title rival Luis Salom. Viñales didn’t have to wait long for his first intermediate class victory, which came at the Circuit of the Americas on April 13th, 2014. He ultimately finished the season in third place with four wins and nine podiums, earning himself another Rookie of the Year award.
In September 2014, it was announced that Viñales would move up to the premier class for the 2015 season, riding for the factory Suzuki team.
Despite being a rookie and riding for a factory that was returning to MotoGP, Viñales had a very good MotoGP season. Scoring points in 16 out of 18 races in a competitive field and under challenging circumstances, Viñales proved to be a notable rider. He finished the season in 12th place, winning again the Rookie of the Year award, completing his collection (125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP).
In 2016 Viñales shone again. At the fifth Grand Prix of the season he finished third for his first MotoGP podium in France and it wasn’t before long that he got to step onto the top of the rostrum. At the twelfth race, the British Grand Prix, he registered his first ever MotoGP win. He finished the season strong with two more third places in Japan and on Phillip Island, to secure fourth place in championship. His talent and strong mentality were undeniable and did not go unnoticed by Yamaha, who signed Viñales for the 2017 and 2018 season with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team.
Viñales lived up to the hype. After a very strong debut on the YZR-M1 during the pre-season, the young Spaniard went on to win the first two races in Qatar and Argentina. He later followed the achievement up by securing Yamaha its 500th Grand Prix victory in Le Mans, after a sensational fight with teammate Valentino Rossi. Despite the season being filled with grip issues, the Spaniard brought in solid points, scoring second places in Mugello and Silverstone and third places in Brno and Phillip Island, to ultimately conclude season in third place.
After such a strong first year with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team, Viñales is hungry to show his talent again in 2018 as he aims to bring Yamaha the title.
contested in total