After a Factory Yamaha one-two at Assen it’s just been announced that Maverick Viñales will be leaving the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team at the end of 2021. Viñales, who finished runner up behind his teammate Fabio Quartararo at the Dutch TT yesterday, is said to have requested his contract with Yamaha be terminated a year early. Rumour has it that the Spaniard’s been in talks with Aprilia about a ride for 2021.
Although there’s been no confirmation of a move to Aprilia, Aprilia have expressed an interest. I mean, they would, wouldn’t they? Viñales is a former World Champion (Moto3, 2013) and a MotoGP race winner. He’d also be a title contender if he could sharpen up his consistency a little bit.
Despite having the pace at Assen, his results at the Sachsenring a week previously left a lot to be desired; Maverick Viñales finished the German GP stone last. And that’s not good enough for a Factory rider. Especially when you’re teammate is leading the World Championship.
Maverick Viñales, who despite finishing on the podium at Assen spent the whole weekend with a face like a slapped arse, had this to day:
“This partnership has been very significant to me over the last five years. It proved a difficult decision to part ways. In these seasons together, we experienced both great achievements and tough times. However, the underlying feeling is of mutual respect and appreciation. I am fully committed and will strive to achieve the best results for the rest of the season.”
And his boss, Lin Jarvis (Managing Director of Yamaha Racing) made this statement:
“It is with sadness that we will say farewell to Maverick at the end of the year. We are in the middle of our fifth season together. Over the years we have achieved many highs but also had to manage many lows. After the German GP, which was the most difficult weekend of our partnership, we had important discussions. We came to the conclusion that it would be in the interest of both parties to go our separate ways in the future. Yamaha will put in their maximum effort – as we always have done – to give full support to Maverick and finish this season in the very best way possible.”
We’re expecting to see a press release from Aprilia/Twitter post from Maverick Viñales, confirming their marriage for 2022. But it could be any time between now and Christmas. I’m more interested in who’s going to take the second Factory Yamaha seat though. If Quartararo continues riding the way he has been and wins the championship on the Yam, you’d have to say that Yamaha could have the pick of the grid. All the top riders will be queuing up to throw a leg over an M1. Well, maybe not all of them. I reckon It will be someone like Morbidelli who gets the call. What do you think?