until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Vinales’ history of self-sabotage

by Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The exceptional and unprecedented news that Maverick Vinales has been ‘suspended’ from the factory Yamaha team for allegedly deliberately attempting to break his M1 during last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix most likely marks the end of the 26-year-old’s time as a Yamaha racer.

There’s surely no possible way back into the team imaginable after its incredible allegations against him.

If proven, it would be an incredible act of self-sabotage that could potentially have huge repercussions for Vinales as he negotiates his future in the premier class with Aprilia, after already announcing that he would be splitting with Yamaha halfway through a two-year contract at the end of 2021.

Aug 12 : Why Yamaha has suspended Vinales

However, it would not be the first time in Vinales’ career that he’s done something that could have potentially threatened his entire future, with a previous high-profile incident during the 2012 Moto3 season already a black mark on his copy book.

Vinales made his debut in Grand Prix racing in 2011, riding in the final year of the 125cc championship for the Blusens-BQR Team with a rather remarkable sponsor in the shape of American socialite, reality TV star and hotel heiress Paris Hilton.

Maverick Vinales Paris Hilton 2011

Making headlines off the track thanks to the high-profile backer, Vinales showed his skill from the off by winning his fourth ever race.

Going on to win a further three races for the team, he ended the season third in the championship behind Nicolas Terol and Johann Zarco, before sticking with Blusens for 2012 and going into the first year of the new Moto3 championship as the clear favourite.

Things started well with victory in the opening race in Qatar and a string of other wins afterwards to propel him right into the mix for the title with Sandro Cortese and Luis Salom.

Maverick Vinales 2012

That was until the exceptional news broke on the Friday morning of the Malaysian Grand Prix that Vinales, frustrated by what he said was a breach of contract by the team, had packed his bags and flown home to Europe.

He did so despite being second in the championship, albeit 56 points behind Cortese, with three races left.

“Since halfway through the season, they haven’t done all they could,” Vinales said of his team at the time.

“I’m always giving my best – so I wanted to leave the team after those last three races and have a ‘clean’ break-up, but they wouldn’t agree so today I’m heading home.

Maverick Vinales 2012

“It’s always better to finish in a good way but if they want to be difficult then we will be difficult too.

“I would have raced until the end of the season if they agreed to release me at the end of the year.

“It’s not that much about the support, but I think it’s a second division team – I have to try and win the championship next year and I don’t think I could do it with this team, so that’s why I took this decision.”

Vinales was already signed up to race with Blusens in Moto3 in 2013 with an option to move to Moto2 for 2014.

It seems that issues existed around the complicated relationship with Ricard Jove.

Richard Jove Maverick Vinales 2012

Now a Spanish TV commentator, Jove was at the time both the manager of the Blusens team and Vinales’ personal manager, and the rider hinted that offers from other teams hadn’t been passed on to him as Jove tried to retain his services for his own team.

However, with a contract in place, Blusens had the last laugh – at least initially.

Vinales was back in action at the next weekend’s race, once again flying long haul across the world to get back to Phillip Island – and issuing an apology to the team for his actions.

“My hasty departure from the Malaysian GP was certainly not good,” he said, echoing much of the current situation with Yamaha.

“But with the tension generated by my position in the team, I fell into a state of anger and frustration that was certainly not an ideal state of mind to ride a bike in – especially to ride it at the limit.

“I made a mistake, because although I was not mentally prepared to ride the bike, I should not have left the Sepang circuit, or made such statements. And so, I apologise for the harm that has been accidentally caused.”

In the end, Vinales won out without lasting damage to his career, though.

Maverick Vinales 2013

Blusens ended his contract for the following season, freeing him up to move to Team Calvo, where he won the Moto3 championship before moving to Moto2 with Pons Racing in 2014 and making the jump to MotoGP as a factory Suzuki rider in 2015.

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