Maverick Vinales says he regrets leaving Suzuki for Yamaha MotoGP

Maverick Vinales believes he made a 'clear mistake' in leaving a Suzuki team on the ascendency in favour of joining the title-challenging Yamaha in MotoGP

Maverick Vinales - Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales has said it was a ‘clear mistake’ to leave Suzuki in favour of joining the Yamaha Factory MotoGP team, saying he was ‘going crazy’ at his failure to get the Yamaha M1 working consistently.

The Spaniard, the 2013 Moto3 World Championship, stepped up to MotoGP with Suzuki after impressing during his rookie season in Moto2, spearheading the Hamamatsu marque’s return to the top flight after a hiatus.

Spending two years with Suzuki, Vinales brought the manufacturer its first MotoGP win since 2007 with victory at the 2016 British MotoGP at Silverstone and was snapped up by Yamaha to replace Ducati-bound triple World Champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Despite a promising start to life with the Japanese firm with three wins from his first five races with the team, Vinales became renowned for his inconsistent form over the next four and a half seasons. He left Yamaha mid-way through 2021 when his contract was terminated as punishment for causing ‘deliberate’ damage to his bike when he over-revved it intentionally through frustration at its performance.

In an interview with The Race, Vinales admits he was wrong to leave an ascending Suzuki team for Yamaha in 2017, though he says this is predominantly because he’d spend so long struggling to get the M1 to his liking.

“I don’t want to talk too much about the past, but it’s clear that I had made a mistake. In the end we had created a really good team, but at that moment the Yamaha was a winning bike and I chose to take that path. I don’t know if it was right or wrong, because in the end you make your decision.

“I just want to say nice words towards them, because I have nothing bad to say. I’ve always said the bike was great, but we didn’t know exactly how to make it work, because at times I felt unbeatable and at others I was last. I was going crazy.”

Following his Yamaha exit, Vinales signed a two-year agreement with Aprilia, but joined the Italian manufacturer early towards the end of the 2021 MotoGP season when he became a free agent.

“I wanted to feel a team around me, that’s why I changed. To have all that atmosphere, that passion and especially because I think that when you go to a place where everyone is hungry this pushes you even more.”