Maverick Vinales ‘liberated’ by Yamaha exit call, talks Aprilia, Suzuki rumours

Maverick Vinales speaks for the first time about the 'liberating' decision to quit Yamaha, explains why he couldn't bring himself to continue another year

Maverick Vinales - Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP 2021


Maverick Vinales has spoken for the first time since announcing he will exit the Yamaha Factory Racing team at the end of the 2021 MotoGP season, saying the decision has been ‘mentally liberating’ for him.

Ahead of the summer break Vinales confirmed he had come to an agreement with Yamaha that would see him leave a year earlier than his contract stipulates.

It comes amid a season of inconsistent form that began with a win at the Qatar opener, slumped with him finishing last of all in the German MotoGP but picked up again at the most recent Dutch TT with a pole position and run to second.

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However, it is a curious rollercoaster of results that have dogged him throughout his time at Yamaha, Vinales at times proving scintillatingly fast only for average performances elsewhere to nix any hope of mounting a title challenge.

Indeed, Vinales has been outspoken about his frustrations with Yamaha’s development, saying engineers simply ‘don’t know’ how to help him find a comfortable and consistent setting on the M1. 

With pressure mounting in the wake of incoming team-mate Fabio Quartararo surging into a comfortable championship lead, while Vinales says leaving is a hard decision given the potential of the machine underneath him, he nonetheless has no regrets.

“I know it won't be easy, but mentally it was liberating to leave,” he told Moto.it. “Which does not mean, however, that I am not grateful to Yamaha for the opportunities it has given me and for having bet on me. I think I was also able to make my contribution to the development of the bike, although I would have liked to have done more ... "

“I will always give my best, I want to win at any cost, then we'll see. What if Yamaha might not follow me that much? I don't know, I can't answer, you should turn the question over to them. I just give it my all every time I lower the visor.”

While his form bounced back at Assen, Vinales says even this performance has negative connotations because he was scared to tweak the set-up after FP1, something he says he shouldn’t have to contend with.

“The problem is this: the fact that I know where I can go, but at the same time I also know that I will not get there with this bike and this team. I have to find a way, the right path to get there. And it's not even a question of the environment: I simply need to trust the team and receive it, for me it is very important. This year we made many mistakes, and it inevitably affects you, the situation has become very difficult."

"For one thing, at Assen the bike worked very well in FP1, and we never touched it again for fear of getting worse. You can't race like this in today's MotoGP, you always have to look for something to improve. Here is the problem , if there is no confidence it is impossible to work like this, even if it went well at Assen, the bike worked and I was able to push and give it my all. "

Will Maverick Vinales join Aprilia or Suzuki for MotoGP 2022?

Once news of Vinales’ impending exit broke over the Assen weekend, he was immediately linked with a move to the last remaining factory-backed seat on the grid at Aprilia.

However, Vinales insists he is leaving negotiations to his management team but does say he feels the Aprilia RS-GP has ‘great potential’.

"Not at the moment, we'll see later. But I want to take it slow, weighing the decisions well. Obviously my management is taking care of it, because at the moment I just want to switch off my head a little and enjoy the summer: I'm really tired, for this year and for the previous one. 

“A rider must find satisfaction in every season, otherwise something is wrong. I know that few would have done what I did, but it made no sense to continue with a situation that obviously doesn't work. 

“The bike has great potential, it's not a matter of team or bike, it's that I don't adapt to either of them and I have to find a solution to get back to being able to give my best. The only goal of this choice is to get back to being able to express my full potential, nothing else.”

He also played down talk of a return to Suzuki after the possibility was raised that he could seek re-establishing ties with the team with which he made his MotoGP debut in 2015, but played down.

“Return to Suzuki? I haven't really thought about it. At the moment it doesn't really make sense to plan for 2022: now I just want to rest, enjoy the summer, train and come back as strong as possible.”

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