MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales reacts to death of racer cousin Dean Berta

MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales pays tribute to teenage cousin Dean Berta Vinales, who died in an accident at the WorldSSP 300 event in Jerez

Maverick Vinales, Dean Berta Vinales

Maverick Vinales has issued his first response following the death of his cousin Dean Berta Vinales this weekend, saying his passing has been a ‘hard blow’ for the racing family.

Dean Berta Vinales, 15, died after sustaining a head injury in a multi-bike accident on Lap 11 of the WorldSSP 300 race at Jerez. He was riding for the Vinales Racing Yamaha team, managed by Maverick Vinales’ father Angel. 

The eldest member of the Vinales racing family, Maverick is an eight-time MotoGP race winner and recently switched from Yamaha to Aprilia. 

His brother - also Dean Berta’s cousin - Isaac Vinales races in the WorldSBK Championship with Orelac Kawasaki and was present at Jerez at the time of the accident. He did not start Sunday’s WorldSBK races.

Speaking on Instagram, Maverick expressed his sorrow at the passing of his young relative.

"There are no words for this moment, it has been a hard blow in our family. I will always remember the little argues we had at all times. You are our "Feo" and you will always be in us. I send you a huge kiss wherever you are."

Dean Berta Vinales was in his first season of WorldSSP 300 racing and after steady progress during the first half of the season enjoyed a significant upturn in fortunes recently, finishing fourth at Magny-Cours and sixth in Barcelona last weekend.

He is the third teenage professional racer to have died in an accident in high-profile circuit racing this season following on from Jason Dupasquier during the Mugello Moto3 weekend, plus 14-year old CEV Repsol Moto3 racer Hugo Millan at Motorland Aragon.