Let's just say it has NOT been a good week for the Vinales family…

One can assume the Vinales family WhatsApp group is basically just bad message after the other at the moment...

Maverick Vinales - Yamaha Factory Racing


Dinner time in the Vinales family would be an awkward time right now… that is if they do get together for dinner every Sunday like the Waltons, which they probably don’t. Nor do they probably live together… but you get the jist.

Regardless, if the matriarch of the Vinales’ was to go around each racing member of the family to ask them how their week had gone (and to pass the potatoes), the response would be one sad tale after another.

Of course, the big news in the Vinales family is the rather shamed Maverick, whose rollercoaster of a 2021 MotoGP campaign came to a clattering halt last week hanging upside down half-way around the loop di loop, sounding similar to that of his crunching Yamaha M1 as he bashed down gears while pinning the throttle at the end of the Styrian MotoGP.

Forced to miss Austrian MotoGP and field some rather awkward questions from both team and media, that rollercoaster has now been released to bring Vinales back down to earth, where he has been politely told to step off and never come back. A sign with his face on saying ‘do not admit’ is being hung outside the gates as we speak...

It’s the rather sobering conclusion to a story that has dominated the headlines in 2021 as Vinales stayed true to form by demonstrating his title credentials with a win in the opening round before descending into an anonymous patch of form that had many questioning whether he was actually in the race.

On the one hand, while the results are surprising in that Vinales is clearly exceptionally talented and on his day can be yards quicker than any other rider, on the other hand the disparate form has become par for the course.

This time though Vinales opted to speak his mind… and it seemed to drive the confidence for him to keep going. It didn’t improve his results but it got him what he wanted (an end of season exit) while everyone, including Yamaha, now knew what he was thinking all the time.

However, it’s probably fair to say this validation of being opinionated and bolshy - a method that has worked for the likes of Valentino Rossi but not Max Biaggi - is probably what led to his hot-headed actions in Austria.

Though one can certainly understand why Vinales was becoming frustrated with Yamaha as it slowly turned its back on him in favour of supporting his championship leading team-mate Fabio Quartararo knowing full well he was leaving at the end of the year, it’s one thing to honest in your appraisal of a bike supplied by those that hire you, it’s another to just flat break it altogether.

With this in mind, it’s not surprising Vinales has had his contract terminated with immediate effect but it doesn’t disguise quite how extraordinary a decision it is.

While fans watch MotoGP for the riders’ championship, if you represent a brand then it is actually the constructors’ title that the likes of Yamaha so desperately want to win. Quartararo may be performing strongly, but there are four very strong Ducati riders capable of challenging him and Vinales - bad tempered or otherwise - was still a race winner and running seventh in the standings.

By essentially leaving Quartararo to fight with one hand tied behind his back, it’s a formidable declaration of Yamaha not taking any ‘bulls**t’ from anyone, not even its riders, even though it could cost it the one crown it actually wants most.

Dean Berta Vinales

Things aren’t looking so great in WorldSBK either

As it turns out, Vinales’ divorce for ‘irreconcilable differences’ was actually predicted earlier in the week by matters that didn’t even involve the MotoGP paddock.

Indeed, his father Angel Vinales was the acting team owner of the Vinales Racing Team, which was formed at the top of the year to compete in the WorldSSP 300 Championship with the express aim of developing (more) young Spanish talent.

However, VRT announced earlier this week that it had severed ties with Yamaha in a move that in hindsight was a clear indication things were still not well between the two parties. It is unclear if VRT will pop up again with another manufacturer, though it’s options in WorldSSP are limited to Kawasaki and KTM.

It also means Dean Berta Vinales, cousin of Maverick, is out of a ride.

So that’s Maverick, Angel and Dean - what of the other racing Vinales, Isaac?

Well, he won’t be racing WorldSBK in Navarra this weekend because he has returned a positive COVID-19 test. So actually he won’t be sat around the metaphorical dinner table anyway. 

Still, we can at least end this awkward fantasy meal on a good note - at least Vinales has secured his 2022 MotoGP deal with Aprilia, so maybe things will be all gravy after all.