Yamaha boss: Viñales episode was ‘extraordinary’

Maverick Viñales rides a Yamaha. Picture: MotoGP.com

Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis has described what unfolded around Maverick Viñales at MotoGP’s Michelin Grand Prix of Styria as “extraordinary”.

Viñales was sensationally suspended ahead of the following event, the Austrian Grand Prix, after it came to light that he had tried to damage the engine in his M1.

Just over a week later, Yamaha announced that the Spaniard’s contract had been terminated with immediate effect, having already granted a release which would have seen him leave at the end of the 2021 season.

The Iwata manufacturer and management of its factory team had initially remained tight-lipped about the saga, but Jarvis has now given his thoughts on what happened.

“Of course, it’s a great shame that our partnership with Maverick had to finish ahead of time, and not finish in a positive way,” said the Yamaha Motor Racing managing director in a video published on MotoGP’s official website.

“We started, obviously, five years ago with the intention to arrive and achieve a mission together to become champions together.

“It didn’t work out and then, of course, I would say the final separation happened in two phases, because already in Assen we had agreed to terminate one year ahead of schedule.

“This was a mutual agreement; the rider was not happy with his situation within Yamaha and he wanted to move on, so we understood and we never want to keep somebody in the team, in the relationship that’s not happy.

“So, we accepted at that stage and say, ‘Okay, it’s in the interest of both parties to separate, but let’s do it in a professional way, let’s do it in style, let’s finish this season,’ because to break mid-season’s never a good thing.

“So, that was the clear intention of Yamaha and Maverick in Assen, but then, after the summer break, of course we came back to the first race in Styria and then everything changed, so what happened there was extraordinary.

“I’ve been in this game a few years and I’ve not experienced something quite like that before, and that resulted in us suspending the rider for the second race – for the Austrian Grand Prix – and then that quickly ended up in a conclusion that unfortunately we would need to separate.”

Viñales had already been confirmed as a future Aprilia rider by the time the immediate termination, said to be a mutual decision, was announced by Yamaha.

The nine-time MotoGP race winner is regarded as one of the very best talents in the field, but is clearly mentally fragile.

Jarvis was magnanimous about his now former rider, expressing hope that #12 can find happiness with his new team.

“Yeah, it’s very sad, I’m not very happy at all about it, I’m not very happy about how it affects our season this year, sad for Maverick that we were unable to continue,” he added.

“But, I wish him all the best for the future, and I hope he will find what he’s looking for, in another environment that fits him better.”

Jarvis has also affirmed that Yamaha’s plan is to bring Franco Morbidelli up to the factory Monster Energy Yamaha team as soon as he returns from injury.

That is likely to happen at the San Marino Grand Prix, on September 17-19, at which time Andrea Dovizioso would return to racing on what would be Morbidelli’s old ride at SRT.

In the meantime, Viñales will undertake his first, two-day test with Aprilia at the San Marino Grand Prix venue, Misano, from this evening (AEST).

The next MotoGP round is the Aragon Grand Prix, at MotorLand Aragon, on September 10-12.

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