Maverick Viñales to part ways with Yamaha at the end of the season

The persistent rumour that has circulated the paddock in recent weeks has finally been confirmed this Monday. Yamaha and Maverick Viñales have reached an agreement to end their partnership at the conclusion of the current MotoGP season. 

The Japanese brand has made the announcement via an official statement. According to their agreement, both parties will go separate ways one year ahead of their initial contractual commitment which bounded the two together until the end of the 2022 World Championship.

The relationship between the Spanish pilot and the firm from Iwata, however, has now ended in an abrupt divorce. The news has not come as a surprise considering the Catalan pilot had been hinting at his separation from the team for a while.

As part of their visibly tense relationship, Maverick Viñales has always been quick to criticize the Japanese team in a more or less explicit way. The rider has even complained that he was treated more as a test rider than anything else, a rank far below what should be expected from a pilot who is, in theory, aspiring to the title. 

Viñales’ lousy performance  

Statements and complaints aside, the truth is that Maverick Viñales’ performance onboard the YZR-M1 has been infinitely worse than that of his partner, Fabio Quartararo. Having claimed four victories during the current campaign, the Frenchman leads the standing with an iron fist. 

The results of the Spaniard, on the other hand, have been very disappointing. Despite starting the season with a promising victory in Qatar ‘s inaugural round, Maverick Viñales has since been going through a considerable performance slump. 

A change that made everything worst 

In an attempt to remediate its alarming situation, Yamaha replaced its chief mechanic, Esteban García, with the veteran Silvano Galbusera at the beginning of June, but instead of shaking things up in the garage, the change seemed to make things even more awkward. The worst of the track action was yet to come. 

Two weeks ago, Viñales hit rock bottom in Germany, where he finished last while ‘El Diablo’ claimed third place. Following that bitter experience, the Spaniard declared that he very nearly abandoned his bike at the Sachsenring Circuit.

After his statement the situation became untenable and everything started falling to pieces. He said the race had been a shame.

Maverick says goodbye after scoring a great result in Holland

Interestingly, the news of their divorce broke just a few hours after Maverick rose from his ashes in Holland, where he finished second from pole. Assen, where he won in 2019, is one of the Spaniard’s favourite tracks. 

But the coldness with which he received his excellent result, and the avoidance of any physical contact with his team leader, Massimo Meregalli, presaged an imminent break.  

And so in this not very flattering way, a five-year partnership that began in 2017 has now ended. During that time Viñales has taken a total of 8 victories, 24 podiums and 13 poles for Yamaha, finishing third in the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. 

As for what is in store for him, rumours have it that he could sign for Aprilia, the team of his also Catalan friend Aleix Espargaró. At the same time, everything points to Franco Morbidelli to replace him in Yamaha. Morbidelli currently rides for the Petronas SRT satellite team and was runner-up in the 2020 World Championship. 


Yamaha Official statement

Maverick Viñales said:

This partnership has been very significant to me over the last five years, and it proved a difficult decision to part ways. In these seasons together, we experienced both great achievements and tough times. However, the underlying feeling is of mutual respect and appreciation. I am fully committed and will strive to achieve the best results for the rest of the season.



Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis expressed his sadness at the decision:

It is with sadness that we will say farewell to Maverick at the end of the year,” said Jarvis. “We are in the middle of our fifth season together and over the years we have achieved many highs but also had to manage many lows.

“After the German GP, which was the most difficult weekend of our partnership, we had important discussions in Assen and came to the conclusion that it would be in the interest of both parties to go our separate ways in the future.

“Yamaha will put in their maximum effort – as we always have done – to give full support to Maverick and finish this season in the very best way possible.”

Images of Maverick Viñales: Yamaha.

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