Yamaha MotoGP boss: Viñales is a ‘mystery’

Maverick Viñales. Picture: MotoGP.com

Yamaha’s managing director Lin Jarvis has described Maverick Viñales as a “mystery” following their decision to split.

Viñales had already been granted an early release from his two-year contract when he was sensationally suspended by Yamaha for apparently trying to damage his engine in the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria.

In the week following the Austrian Grand Prix from which the Spaniard had been withdrawn, Aprilia confirmed it had signed him for 2022 before the Iwata marque announced the immediate termination of its own contract with Viñales, a decision said to be mutual.

Now, in an interview with German publication Speedweek, which would appear to have been conducted before the Styria bombshell, Jarvis has opened up on his experience of one of MotoGP’s great enigmas.

“Maverick is extremely talented, but at the same time he is a mystery,” said Jarvis.

“But it is very important for him to feel mentally comfortable, strong and happy. He has to feel that he is in the right place. Then he can produce the desired results.

“And maybe there are other pilots who have fewer ups and downs, who are more resilient and resilient.

“When we felt that Maverick was no longer happy with us, we looked for a solution, as in the past.

“Our principle has always been not to force any driver to stay. If the athlete is not happy, it is better if he leaves us. It’s better for the team, for the driver and everyone else involved.”

Viñales had already had a tumultuous 2021 season, taking an upset win in Round 1, the Qatar Grand Prix, but not gracing the podium again until finishing second in Round 9, the Dutch TT.

Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Fabio Quartararo was victorious that day at Assen, as he has been in three other races so far this year, and has been on the podium a further three times though the first 11 rounds.

Viñales, on the other hand, was the last finisher in the rounds immediately before and after the Dutch TT, at Germany’s Sachsenring just one week prior, and afterwards at the Styrian Grand Prix.

Even during that fateful afternoon at the Red Bull Ring, he went from running fifth before the red flag having started ninth, to stalling on the sighting lap for the restart and never recovering.

There have apparently been suggestions that the nine-time MotoGP race winner tanked the German Grand Prix weekend, something which Jarvis sidestepped.

Picture: MotoGP.com

“I find an easy exit on this question, because I wasn’t at the Sachsenring GP,” he explained.

“So, I can say I wasn’t there, I didn’t see what was happening on site.

“You can’t really talk about refusal to work, because Maverick took part in all of the practice sessions.”

Jarvis did observe, however, that the German round was emblematic of the 26-year-old’s problems.

“Maverick’s performance in Saxony was extraordinary,” he observed.

“Sure, the track wasn’t beneficial for us, but Fabio Quartararo fought for third place in the race.

“I would say the result in Saxony sheds light on the problems Maverick has at this point in his career.

“Sometimes he is a very powerful rider fighting at the top, but other times he falls with the same force.

“I think that’s his Achilles heel, his vulnerable spot.

“It is sometimes inexplicable, difficult to understand.

“It can happen between morning and afternoon or from one track to another.”

With his Yamaha contract no longer, Viñales seemingly has the opportunity to ride for Aprilia before the year is out, and is reportedly in the frame to test for the Noale manufacturer in coming weeks.

As for Yamaha, test rider Cal Crutchlow has been called up to the factory team to take the place of #12.

The knock-on effect is that SRT has had to promote Jake Dixon from Moto2 to MotoGP for this weekend’s British Grand Prix, given Crutchlow had been filling in for the injured Franco Morbidelli.

The latter is set to be Viñales’ permanent replacement at Monster Energy Yamaha in 2022, while Darryn Binder looks like jumping straight from SRT’s Moto3 team to the premier class.

Round 12 of the season commences at Silverstone this Friday evening (AEST).

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