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Kevin Schwantz starts Vinales to Suzuki, Rins to Yamaha idea... and we like it!

500GP World Champion Kevin Schwantz offers up a very intriguing hypothesis that puts Maverick Vinales back at Suzuki and Alex Rins at PSRT Yamaha

Maverick Vinales, Alex Rins


Kevin Schwantz has set social media alight by presenting an alternative solution to the dilemma of where Maverick Vinales will land post-Yamaha for the 2022 MotoGP season, an idea that becomes more logical and exciting the more we think about it.

The 1993 500GP World Champion, in an interview with Speedweek, suggested Vinales comes full circle and heads back to the team with which he made his MotoGP debut in 2015, saying ‘maybe Maverick will return to Suzuki…”

An interesting proposition. With this in mind, Vinales would join 2020 MotoGP Champion Joan Mir and replace Alex Rins, who in turn would head in the other direction to Petronas SRT Yamaha, in place of Franco Morbidelli who assumes Vinales’ Yamaha Factory seat alongside Fabio Quartararo.

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It is the latest hypothesis to emerge following the confirmation Vinales will exit the Yamaha Factory Racing team at the end of the 2021 MotoGP season, a year earlier than planned. Early indications suggested he’d be off to Aprilia, but it has gone very quiet since amid alternative speculation VR46 Racing have approached.

Yamaha, meanwhile, has a growing shopping list of potential riders to consider approaching. However, this includes few MotoGP riders currently racing  since we are half-way through predominately two-year contract cycles at the moment. 

Moto2 star Raul Fernandez is a favourite if he can be released from his KTM contract, while Garrett Gerloff’s chances have been raised on the back of Toprak Razgatlioglu’s rejection of a contract in favour of two more years in WorldSBK with Yamaha.

Vinales to Suzuki, Rins to Yamaha: Could it happen?

Kevin Schwantz, you have our attention.

Out of all the many different theories and rumours doing the rounds, this neat contract swap certainly has some appeal to it.

Strictly speaking, Rins will be a Suzuki rider for the 2022 MotoGP season having signed a two-year deal - together with Mir - right at the top of 2020. However, the Spaniard, having come into the 2020 season as one of the outside title hopes instead found himself overshadowed by title-winning team-mate Mir.

Furthermore, while an impressive end to the year lifted him to third overall, a shoulder injury sustained in a crash at Round 1 meant it always seemed as though he was playing catch up through the year.

Things haven’t improved into 2021 with Rins suffering four crashes from four consecutive races within the opening six rounds before a cycling accident left him with an arm injury that ruled him out of the Catalunya MotoGP.

With only two top six results to his name heading into the summer break, while Suzuki isn’t known for renegotiating contracts, it has coyly suggested it would be open to welcoming Vinales back into the fold and especially if Rins’ love affair with the Hamamatsu marque has waned.

The Japanese firm took a punt on the Spaniard after only a single season of Moto2, a shrewd move that reaped rewards when he returned the firm to the winners’ circle in 2016 for its first MotoGP win since 2007.

If Rins is becoming disillusioned with Suzuki, a 2022-spec Yamaha M1 seems like a viable alternative, while Vinales would likely find a GSX-RR much more to his liking than the bike he is leaving behind…

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