Yamaha recalls ex-Rossi crew chief for struggling Viñales

Maverick Viñales. Picture: MotoGP.com

Maverick Viñales’ crew chief Esteban Garcia has left Monster Energy Yamaha and been replaced by Silvano Galbusera, who formerly worked with Valentino Rossi.

The departure, which was mutually agreed by team and crew chief according to Yamaha, follows a poor run of results since Viñales won Round 1 of the 2021 MotoGP season.

The Spaniard has finished fifth, 11th, seventh, 10th, and eighth, in the subsequent five races, dropping to sixth in the standings.

Team-mate Fabio Quartararo, by contrast, leads the championship having racked up three victories in that period, and could well have taken another if not for arm pump at Jerez.

Viñales said that the split was Yamaha’s call but admitted that “something is not working”.

The Spaniard is nevertheless “hurt” by the development given his personal relationship with Garcia, who was crew chief also for his title-winning 2013 Moto3 season before they reunited in MotoGP in 2019.

“I spoke with Esteban about this because first of all he is my friend,” said Viñales.

“We have a very good relationship, I went many times to his house and I know his wife, his daughter, I know them very well.

“For sure, our relationship will continue, even if he is not my crew chief because he is more than just a crew chief.

“He’s one of my friends and that change for me also hurts.

“But in another hand, I understand very well that we need to take out the maximum; we have our team-mate who is winning and we are doing [only] top 10.

“So, for sure sometimes we show a very high potential and what Yamaha is trying to do is to bring me to that potential.

“It is what we need to do, basically we need to right now focus, find a good balance on the bike because it was a little bit hard the last three races.

“And continue working because we know we can do it.

“Somehow for me it was pretty unexpected and quick, but Yamaha wants me to give the maximum.”

Galbusera was Rossi’s crew chief from 2014 to 2019, after which time he was replaced by David Muñoz.

Of late, he has been crew chief to Cal Crutchlow at Yamaha’s test team, although there is no word yet on how that position will be filled going forward.

Round 7 of the season, the Catalan Grand Prix, commences tonight (AEST).

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