Viñales’ father: Yamaha not a bad bike

Maverick Viñales. Picture:

Maverick Viñales’ father Angel says that Yamaha’s MotoGP bike is not bad, but rather it simply did not suit his son’s style.

Viñales and Yamaha will part ways at the end of the season, only halfway through a two-year contract, in a move initiated by the rider.

The Spaniard’s deal for 2021 and 2022 was announced in January 2020 and he revealed at last weekend’s Dutch TT that he had been thinking about a way out since the start of the current campaign.

He spoke then of “not [being] able to show my full potential”, and described his situation as a “nightmare” because of Yamaha’s apparent inability to respond to his feedback.

Ironically, Viñales had just helped deliver the Iwata manufacturer’s works squad a one-two at Assen, with Fabio Quartararo taking victory.

That was Quartararo’s fourth win of 2021 and the Frenchman is now well over a full race clear at the top of the points table, nine rounds into what is a 19-round season as the calendar presently stands.

According to Angel Viñales, who runs a team in the Supersport 300 World Championship which supports WorldSBK, the split occurred because neither Yamaha nor ‘Mack’ could adapt to each other.

“Maverick is not leaving Yamaha because the bike is bad, so that’s clear, but because Yamaha didn’t give him the bike he needed, and he has not adapted to the motorcycle that Yamaha has,” he told Spanish sports newspaper AS.

According to Angel, a stiffer bike would suit his son, whose style he likened to that of Honda’s six-time champion Marc Marquez.

In stating his case, he also referenced Jorge Lorenzo, whose three premier class titles all came with Yamaha, but who retired after one dismal, crash-affected season at Honda.

“This bike suits Lorenzo’s or Quartararo’s riding style,” declared Angel Viñales.

“It’s soft like butter. Maverick needs a stiffer motorcycle. Why? Because Maverick is like Marc. They attack hard in order to exploit the potential.”

He summed up, “[Yamaha] didn’t manage to give him what he wanted and he didn’t manage to ride this bike 100 percent.”

Maverick Viñales was speculated as being on his way to Aprilia, perhaps with a deal already done, when reports of a possible Yamaha split emerged over the Dutch TT weekend.

While he affirmed post-race that an early exit from Yamaha was possible, before that was confirmed the next morning, he denied at that time that there was a contract with Aprilia.

The 26-year-old may therefore not yet have anywhere to go but, having recently become a father himself, he had a good reason to get out of his current situation.

“Maverick leaves because he’s not happy that way,” said Viñales senior.

“At a time when he was very happy with his daughter back home in Spain, he realised that he was no longer happy [at Yamaha]. He came [to the races] and asked himself, ‘What problem will I have today?’

“The media attacked him and said that it was up to him, him, him – and the moment came when he exploded and had enough.

“Maverick has found stability at home.

“He has matured a lot and when his daughter was born, he started to think that it couldn’t be that he is so happy in one place and howling in another. That’s not worth it.

“He already has money, what should he do, live bitterly? No.”

There is no word yet on who will replace Viñales at Yamaha Factory Racing, although a call-up for 2020 MotoGP runner-up Franco Morbidelli from satellite team SRT is a logical option.

SRT would then quite conceivably have to find two new riders, given Valentino Rossi has suggested retirement is likely, and that the latest developments in the Yamaha ranks will not affect his decision-making.

MotoGP is on its summer break, before the first of back-to-back rounds at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on August 6-8.

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