Maverick Vinales: Top Gun by name, top rider by nature

    Great things are predicted for Suzuki's Maverick Vinales.

    Story highlights

    • Spanish MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales is named after Tom Cruise character in Top Gun
    • The 21-year-old rider has been making a name for himself ahead of U.S. race in Texas

    (CNN)If your name has any influence over your destiny, then Maverick Vinales' future was written from day one.

    The 21-year-old MotoGP rider's father was a huge fan of the movie Top Gun, and decided to take the name of Tom Cruise's character -- Maverick -- for his son.
      "For sure, it's a cool name," says Vinales, who ahead of this weekend's U.S. MotoGP has already been attracting attention after an impressive first two races this season.
      Rider Maverick Vinales swaps his motorcycle for a plane in this photoshoot resembling his Top Gun namesake.
      The Spaniard, who rides for Suzuki, finished in sixth place at the Qatar Grand Prix late last month. "It went so positive. I feel the team, and also me, made an incredible step forward," he told CNN after the race.
      The follow-up race in Argentina looked to be going even better when Vinales carved through the field to third place. But a slip-up in the closing laps saw him crash out.
      Vinales is now keen to make amends at this weekend's race in Austin -- "I can't wait to go to Texas and get rid of the bitter taste that the race in Argentina left me," he said.
      MotoGP journalist and commentator Steve English likens Vinales to fellow Spaniard and current world champion, Jorge Lorenzo.
      A Maverick selfie in Argentina, earlier this month.
      "His riding style is very similar to Lorenzo, with corner speed at a premium and the same consistency," he said.
      "There are still improvements to come from Vinales, but his form and style means that he is primed for a break out season."

      @maverickvinales25 meets his biggest little fan Greta at the #BritishGP.

      A photo posted by MotoGP (@motogp) on

      Suzuki returned to the sport after a long hiatus last year and this is Vinales' second MotoGP season.
      Perhaps part of the reason for Vinales' success may have actually been down to his lack of experience. As the rest of the paddock grappled with the switch from Bridgestone to Michelin tires, Vinales was quicker to adapt.
      "For me it was easy because I was only one year with Bridgestone," explained the rider.
      Davide Brivio, Suzuki's Team Principal, identified the 21-year Vinales after an impressive start to his racing career, which saw him record a victory in only his fourth race as a GP rider, in the old 125 class.
      He now believes that Vinales can go all the way.
      "This season now we are dreaming of getting to the podium some time, and I think it's possible," he said.
      "In his career I think he can be world champion. I think he can win multiple world championships."
      Time will tell if this particular Maverick will be MotoGP's Top Gun.