Vinales leaves Yamaha for MotoGP 2022 season
Autosport reported on Sunday morning that Vinales were planning to leave Yamaha at the end of the season and take a ride with Aprilia for 2022 as the relationship between the Spaniard and his team hit rock bottom.
Vinales was signed by Yamaha in 2017 to replace Ducati-linked Jorge Lorenzo and won three of his first five races on the M1.
But since then its form on the Yamaha has been inconsistent as the bike itself has had mixed form as well.
After winning the opening night of the 2021 campaign in Qatar, Vinales again failed to score a podium before last Sunday’s Dutch TT in Assen, while teammate Fabio Quartararo took four wins and currently holds a lead of 34 points in the championship.
Yamaha tried to reverse Vinales’ decline by replacing team manager Esteban Garcia with former ally of Valentino Rossi Silvano Galbusera in Barcelona, although this appears to have only added to the tensions between the two sides as Garcia is a close friend of Vinales.
Suffering from his worst MotoGP weekend in Germany, qualifying 21st and finishing the race last, Vinales called Yamaha’s response to its woes in 2021 – and apparently in recent years – disrespectful.
Vinales denied ties to Aprilia after the Assen race, but admitted leaving Yamaha was “an option” for him.
On Monday morning, after a weekend in Assen during which he was on pole and second in the race, Yamaha announced that the two sides had agreed to go their separate ways at the end of 2021.
Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport images
Aprilia on Sunday denied having had any discussions with Vinales, but was open to the nine-time MotoGP race winner joining the Italian marque in 2022.
Yamaha will potentially have two motorcycles up for grabs in 2022 now, with the seat alongside Fabio Quartararo to be filled, while the likely retirement of Valentino Rossi releases an M1 at Petronas SRT.
Vinales’ logical replacement is said to be 2020 Championship finalist Franco Morbidelli, who is currently injured following knee surgery last week.
Morbidelli has a contract with SRT for 2022, but it is believed he has a loophole that can be triggered if a factory team offers him a deal.