Yamaha Press Release: Maverick Viñales To Leave Yamaha At End Of 2021

The long-awaited press release announcing the split between Yamaha and Maverick Viñales arrived this morning:


Yamaha and Maverick Viñales have mutually decided to terminate their current 2021-2022 agreement at the close of this season.

Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 28th June 2021

Following Maverick Viñales‘ request, Yamaha have agreed to put an early end to their current two-year contract. Currently in their fifth season together, they mutually decided to go their separate ways after this year.

Both parties are committed to putting in their maximum effort for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season and ending the relationship on a high note.


It is with sadness that we will say farewell to Maverick at the end of the year. We are in the middle of our fifth season together and over the years we have achieved many highs but also had to manage many lows. After the German GP, which was the most difficult weekend of our partnership, we had important discussions in Assen and came to the conclusion that it would be in the interest of both parties to go our separate ways in the future. Yamaha will put in their maximum effort – as we always have done – to give full support to Maverick and finish this season in the very best way possible.


This partnership has been very significant to me over the last five years, and it proved a difficult decision to part ways. In these seasons together, we experienced both great achievements and tough times. However, the underlying feeling is of mutual respect and appreciation. I am fully committed and will strive to achieve the best results for the rest of the season.

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So yamaha didn't want MV anymore so they ensured that results were erratic by subtle set up changes. One day fastest and the next slow that way the bike was not blamed but rather the rider. And MV starts to doubt himself and his team and the bike until he requests out. Yamaha looks magnanimous and acquiesces to his request. The team and manufacturer comes up smelling roses, MV like manure.

I just don't believe any of these boys are mentally fragile at this level, nor that MV would self-sabotage in such an ridiculous manner. 

Sometimes, I think it is better to just look at the simplest explanation. As every other pilot, MV believes he has what it takes to win races and titles. As every factory team, Yamaha pays pilots to win with their bikes. When wins do not arrive, both parties try their best to find a way to make them happen. After a variable amount of time, one or both parties get frustrated enough to part ways. Maybe there is no need for consipiraces this time :)

I can't believe Yamaha would deliberately sabotage a bike in that way. No way.

However, do you remember Qatar 1 ? Franco tipped to be the man to watch in the race, hole shot device collapses in the race. Franco also made comments after the race about nobody at Yamaha really bothering with his issue. Everybody took it very differently because Franco was best Yamaha in 2020 but is on a 2 year old bike and so it's understandable that he would make some noises. That's basically what Maverick has said also. There's nothing new in Maverick's problems, they've been there since 2017 or 18. I don't think they have been creating them to harm his (their) results for 4 or 5 years, i do think they are not trying to help anymore, not because they think 'oh it's Maverick and his phantom' but because they have realigned their resources internally. The degree to which that has or has not happened...no idea.

What i take from it is that Yamaha are now a one rider team. When Maverick says he has no idea why they renewed his contract for 2 more years i think he's pointing out that commitments are made on both sides (rider/team) and yet from his perspective he's the only side of the deal turning up guns loaded.

It's a difficult thing, it's not easy or simple. If you can convince a team that to beat the rest you need to focus on one rider exclusively and then reinforce that belief by winning; what is there to say you are wrong ? The objective is to win.

Fabio's post race talk was very hmm. Oh i wasn't comfortable, i could have gone 4 tenths faster per lap, my arm hurt, it was so difficult....yet he still won, in other words...i still pissed it despite having so many problems. His off the start swipe across Maverick's front wheel was a f*** you ! It was deliberate, it was his team mate, it was a rider nowhere near in the championship...these things are to be avoided in such circumstances surely ? I've also never seen Fabio's smile be so big, so intense. The post race photograph in the garage was a victory pose which did not only include the race win.

My god, he's a...er...hmm...Diablo ? Most champions are it seems. It's not nice, it's actually very pathetic but we expect them to ride the bike not to provide solutions on world peace.

Whatever happens to Mav, wherever he goes, i hope it works out. The playgrounds are full of kids who don't like to share but there is only one Top Gun and he's an absolute beauty on a bike.


Maverick's situation is somewhat similar to that of Ben Spies a number of years ago. Spies had preventable mechanical difficulties including a collapsed rear suspension during the race at Laguna Seca, and a cracked frame that went undiagnosed for a period of time, all the while professing little support or encouragement from Yamaha. Your comment about being a number two rider seems pretty spot-on.

What a load of utter cobblers!  Psychological problems are very real for an awful lot of people during their lives and I firmly believe that we are watching one play out for poor Vinales.

The situation is just the cumination of MV (and many others) having a very challenging relationship with the softer construction of the Michelin tire on different surfaces. The riders that NEVER road the Bridgestones seem to be getting on better, or is that just me not digging into the data?

Try this theory. Rider wants out of contract, bad mouths employer. Released. American football players do it all the time. Only reason I don't believe it? Maverick is not that smart.

There are more questions than answers that come from this, but the biggest one is:

Why would Yamaha push a rider out without a replacement on hand?

The problem with conspiracy theories is that they hinge mostly on belief and create more questions than answers. The most likely synopsis, as shown time and time by Maverick's own words, is that Maverick can be blazing fast when the stars align from him, but doesn't have the mental fortitude or sense of feedback to know how to develop a bike or be fast when the cosmos don't hand him perfect conditions. There's no need to complicate this by filtering all possible outcomes through your hatred for Yamaha.... they are def not a perfect factory but this is ridiculous.

Agree wholeheartedly.MV12 king of testing with no one around but can't overtake 

research kenny roberts' comments on european riders when he first got to gp's. (paraphrasing) "if the moon isn't in the right phase, they can't go fast. it's bullshit." 

this is not meant to be a catch all for the current situation, nor a pro american statement. some riders are more mentally fragile than others. ask mr. doohan. he'll tell ya.

Thanks for the memory. I remember when he said that. I'd love to hear Kenny's opinion of Mav and all his fetishes. Uncensored of course.

Sir, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

> I just don't believe any of these boys are mentally fragile at this level, nor that MV would self-sabotage in such an ridiculous manner.

I can tell you didn't watch the 2012 Moto3 World Championship season because if you had you would know Maverick has done this before. That time he was second in the championship with a bunch of wins. He quit his team mid-event and flew home from Malaysia only to return to the team for the next round.


Honestly I think this is a win win situation for Yamaha.
An inconsistent (quitte expensive) rider not living up to expectations wants out of his current contract.
Rossi probably retiring at the end of the season.
All of a sudden Yamaha has some seats available to attract and invest in young talents.

I hope for Vinales he can get on on the Aprilia, maybe the underdog position suits him better.
On another note making passes with the Aprilia will not be that much easier compared to the Yamaha in my opinion
Overall I don't think much will change, he'll probably still struggle with inconsistent grip levels.


... most young talent is snatched by other teams already.

All contracts will have a buyout clause. I'd bet Yamaha could offer pretty much any Moto 2 rider more than they are signed for right now, pay the other team off and still save money over what they were set to pay Vinales.


Or take the sensible route and offer Frankie the seat yesterday, then pay for Dovi + Moto 2 hot shot to ride the Petronas bikes and develop, develop, develop.

There is no conspiracy, some riders work some don't, look at the history of the Grand Prix, at this level not only do you need to be mentally strong, but you pretty understand how to set up the big and then ride it beyond the limits even when the bike is not perfect. Like mick doohan, Eddie Lawson, Rossi, Marquez,  I mean look at world super bike Johnny rea 6 titles in a row and number 7 is coming. You have a paddock of very fast riders who have yet to beat him and win the title. Be fore the season starts all the other teams should get some therapy to boost there self esteem

When I first heard it I thought it was insanity. But: the definition of insanity is trying the same thing again and expecting a different result.

Maverick will have had five years with Yamaha. Got nowhere near a fully-fit Marc Marquez after the first few races of 2017 and all of 2018 and 2019. Last year was a bit weird all round (...but was a great opportunity for someone to take a title). This year Fabio arrives and Maverick is being handed his arse on a plate by a new teammate. Dovi is making encouraging noises about the Aprilia but being cagey about signing up to race it. We all know the Aprilia would be an undetermined amount further forward with a better rider than Aleix on it.

Maybe it's not that crazy.

What I have been seeing the most from recent post race interviews is that the job of the riders is very hard. And the closeness of the lap times indicates that extracting even more is also very hard work for the rest of the teams. The schedule and travel is hard. The training is hard. And getting the most out of the bike and rider is super difficult. At the end of the day everyone has to find satisfaction that they gave it their all and the results are what they are.

Vinales may suffer from a HAL9000 syndrome. Through contractual obligations he is not allowed to bad mouth Yamaha. Which means on occasion he has to lie. But maybe his way of processing and releasing emotions and stress is to talk it out. Which he has difficulty doing in the Motogp bubble and media spotlight. And that drives him a little bit nuts.

After watching Vinales in the post race presser, I can empathize with the guy. He's not satisfied. And the image of Rossi in the rubble after his Assen crash was, at that moment, the epitomy of surrender. He's not having fun either. It's important to have fun and find satisfaction in your work when risking your life. 

HAL9000 syndrome...HA! perfect.

also, not having fun while risking your life, which they all most assuredly are, is indeed nuts regardless of the amount of zeros on the check.

Yamaha are so lucky. They should be stuck with Headcase until the end of next year. Woulda served em right, too, for making such a big deal of signing Headcase extra early. Can't hardly wait for the fireworks at Aprilia when he realizes they also treat him as an employee not like the Sun King he thinks he is. Bye bye, Mav. Have fun.

Agree. Never disliked Mav until parc ferme at Assen. If the move to Aprilia happens, it's a double win for me as it blocks the return of Dovi, who as a perennial bridesmaid on #1 kit, has had his chance, and should stay retired.

Aprilia is a tricky number. Lowes had some bad things to say, Smith situation seemed a bit hard but...was it much of a loss ? Ianonne....well they stuck by him longer than any team could be expected to, Aleix seems happy enough. Will be interesting to see how the dynamics change next year...same bike...new team old team hybrid ?

Aleix should be careful with his open arms for Dovi or Mav. If either of them is signed, first thing I'd do as Aprilia is ditch AE and sign a young'in.

Not so sure i would, he has a great work ethic, every race turn up and give it everything even on the desperate days. He deserves some loyalty for his efforts.

If he lands with Ducati for real this time via the new team, it will be great for him. No factory pressure, still good support from Ducati, as Zarco might agree. Ducati could be that villa of redemption! 

I said as much on the forum. No pressure, and a much more consistent, albeit slightly slower bike.

Glad to see Maverick moving on. He's clearly got the ability to do blazingly fast lap times and on his day no one can touch him, however those days are few and far between and the distance between is "on" and "off" days are growing. Time for a reset and new pastures. Would be great to have another rider capable of being consistantly at the front. The wonderful thing about this move for the sport is it both provides a chance for a very fast rider to reach his potential and provides a clear signal to both the rider and the other teams if it's time to be making way for the vast array of new talent coming up. 

I wonder if Morbidelli's attitude and lack of results this season has sealed him out of the factory ride? How much of the attitude plays into the lack of results as opposed to the other way around? With the bikes so close nowadays it doesn't take much to go from podium pace to back of the mid-pack. That has to be a mental roller coaster for these guys.

In baseball when you are successful 1 out of 3 attempts getting a hit you are considered a success. There you see lots of ritual as a way of helping the mind to cope. Today's society looks down on such things but maybe we need more of it, especially in MotoGP. Though I have to say that Rossi's rituals seem to be failing him in his later years...

Teams treat factory riders the same whatever anyone says ,there's just to much money involved to mess about.MV12 king of testing when he can chose his line.Brilliant rider on his day .But let's face it,doesn't like the scrap and can't overtake .

That's sort of the point, too much money involved to be messing about. Look at the gaps, tiny. If putting more effort into helping the winning rider bears fruit...why mess about ?

Ben Spies was sabotaged for an entire season because Yamaha wanted to make way for a returning Rossi, and they didn't want to lose Lorenzo.  Then, after the 2015 WC went to Lorenzo, Yamaha continued their love affair with Rossi by treating their championship rider as a second-class citizen. I don't think Rossi is the bad guy in either of these stories, but his draw assuredly influenced Yamaha to make whatever changes necessary to keep him happy at the expense of two very talented  riders.  No different with Maverick. When Yamaha wants you out, they will find ways, either point blank (Spies), indifference (Lorenzo), or shoulder shrugging (Vinales).  

And to think Ducati has been accused of rider mistreatment...

It's a bit rich for MV to express surprise in retrospect to his contract extension. It came not too long after Yamaha's public apology for fielding an uncompetitive bike, the whole business with the Japanese vs. European testing team (which they may or may not have sorted, given Cal's absence last weekend - saying that as an American and GG fan), and came about before the season even started. What's more surprising to me is that MV at the time expressed huge enthusiasm for the project and said he saw no reason to look elsewhere as he loves the family and gets all the support he needs (paraphrasing, but you can check). I remember thinking this at the time, why he-they?, not why they-him?, when it seemed the factory still had more to prove than MV did.

Now he says he's been giving the same feedback for years and nobody listens, he can still only ride the bike when there's good grip - something we've all known about him for his entire Yamaha career - can't push and give his maximum, even though FQ makes clear to anyone who will ask the bike needs to be pushed to be fast.

To me this is all about Aprilia poaching him and offering him the chance to be the #1 again. In some sports this is called "tampering" and forbidden and punished, but apparently not in MotoGP. The public displays of race sabotage, outbursts against the team and factory, visible seething frustration while speaking empty political words through gritted teeth, all part of the game. I have no doubt he really feels the frustration, I don't think it's purely an act, but there has to be some measure of that which is calculated to make a more expeditious divorce.

But really who cares? I'm not party to any of these dealings, and it promises to not disappoint both on-track and off. This is shaping up to be a better-than-expected silly season, and next year's championship should be a wild one!

 Sack Jarvis and Bring in Wilco. Problem solved.

... and disrupt the smooth, championship-dominating, perfection that is SRT Petronas? Good call.


The team that signed twattararo and the guy who finished #2 in 2020. Then the factory pillaged and plunder the Wilco masterpiece and dropped off their unwanted 19 bikes and an aging GOAT.

      Tool. Go read a book . 
They(Yamaha )  should have more  championships in the Rossi/Lorenzo era and the linnster could not manage the people. Which is his job.  
   Maverick is a # 2 . Period . Fast and can win but not THE GUY.  I new that when I saw him on a Suzuki and I am a hick from Iowa . 

MV has done this before. Its just that this time he isn't flying home before the race! Add in that he is clearly being outperformed by his teammate for the first time. When Rossi was his teammate, MV beat him most of the time. On Yamaha's side, when your highest paid rider comes in dead last, there has to be some sort of serious discussion because unless it is a crash or mechanical failure, that should never happen. So they had their 'discussion' at Assen, it went sideways, and Maverick asked to be released and Yamaha agreed. It all makes perfect sense to me given the players involved. Regarding Aprilia, I'd rather see Dovi alongside Alaix because he's smarter and has been a major part of converting the Ducati from the 'turnip truck' to the bike it is now. Aprilia needs that type of experience and arguably Dovi is just has fast as MV. Meanwhile, how is MV going to help improve the Aprilia if he can't improve the M1? 

but I agree with rholcomb. M12 says all the right things, but it seems more like he's trying to convince himself.

He will be jumping from the frying pan into the fire if he were to go to Aprilia. I'd also rather see AD04 alongside Aleix than mercurial, enigmatic MV12.

If we were to paint with broad strokes, MV12 doesn't have a plan B when plan A doesn't work. Or perhaps he does, but has problems executing plan B. He can be supremely fast when he can run ideal lines (Practice, Testing), but he seems to get lost when he's in traffic, on Race Day.

If I was a factory looking for a rider, I think I might steer clear of a rider who, when asked about why the bike performed the way it did, regularly said "I don't know," no matter how fast he seems at moments. MV is plainly a very skilled rider, but it really looks like when things don't go the way he thinks they should, he tends to let it overwhelm him, leading to a lot of "I don't knows."


I think he's gotten better at having a plan B, but sometimes it seems like he persists in plowing on far too long with plan A even though it isn't working the way he'd like.

Oof, this comment section sure reflects the intensity and disruption of the Yamaha - Maverick divorce. Thank you everyone for keeping it relatively reasonable. Glad to not be elsewhere. Can you believe the conversion now of the Team-Rider crash of Maverick/Yamaha running into the same of Dovi/Ducati in the gravel trap?! Who gets through their very personal suffering and back to pit lane, onto the only Factory bike there? And it is BLACK?!

The Aprilia situation now is so interesting! Which is of course quite a brand new state of affairs. If you are asked to write down a 1,2,3 of who would win on points for the 2022 season if it were a (theoretical mind you) three rider team of Aleix, Dovi and Vinales in Black, how easy is it? How sure are you? What do you think of?

Me? 1) Dovi, 2) Mav, 3) Aleix and the gap is small. 

It is not so clear in my head. And of course hard to extricate bike from rider and even garage/team/brass - this part seems important. Very integrated systemic interrelated dynamic. We see Dovi having trouble at several bogey tracks not falling way back. But that Red bike was hard to set up! The BIKE was lost and needing to be found at "handling tracks." Complex machine. Dovisioso? Not a complex rider to have around despite circa divorce exceptions. Nice guy! Unusual focus. Trains like a beast. Strategic. Complex sharp analyst (he and Iannone were night and day). Sure of himself and his methods in an evidenced rather than egoic manner. Hard worker! Everyone grabbed onto the Professor name, which fit of course, but I always saw he and Crutchlow as our Blue Collar workers. Chiseling their own way off the ground, into space, Astronauts taking it to a few Aliens. 

Vinales, he is such a different rider. He has shown his brilliance. The Pole lap last Saturday looked it. Simplified of course, but the nature of "flywheel weight" between he and steady Dovi is opposite ends of the spectrum. There are continual deviances and adjustments for Mav. Some come back on themselves and compound, rippling. Not an isolated phenomena, what if we also say they are also contrasted in lean/rich mixture and heat of spark plug. Dovi can get carbon deposits and might lack a bit of pep, but is still functioning ok. Running lean brings some power, but all that air and firing can overheat and lose the whole motor dramatically for MV12. How is that for a psych to bikes here? Good I hope.

While Dovi looks the barely better rider pick to join much deserved 2nd seat Aleix, I see Dovi Test/replacement some how. He has been so mild and hesitant for whatever reason about signing to race, it is just a bad launch off the line. Too much inertia. Vinales on the other hand looks like he is just pulling in for a white flag bike change but jumps on Savadori's. How can it not happen? 

Sorry Blue and Mav, always tough to see. Looks like you are all doing ok there. Congrats Aprilia! On the gas. Good Red line change last year. Good Blue, and all of us, getting to see exciting kids join Quartararo and Morbidelli! Good Orange heading that same way. Who will be the man in Black? 

Very much hoping both, including mega Test Alien Dovi. And a sensitive Vinales into a smaller gentler team. Pease go down one range in plug, enrich the mixture, and toss a bit of weight on the flywheel. 

P.S. ALL of Gresini is taking their things and leaving. For Ducati of all places. Isn't this still a very big surprise? Who the heck is Aprilia hobbling together to staff their garage?! It is a big risk for a rider to go Black right now. The bike? It looks a go (finally and miraculously). The Gresini human power, resources, knowledge and structure is not to be undervalued. Top notch. Really! 

Aprilia not fostering an arranged marriage for Gresini to continue partnership as their 2nd Team could be more a loss than first glance. Eagerly awaiting who they get in there from where around their two riders and Test Team. The culture in there will matter a lot (Team Boss). So will Crew Chiefs. A Data/ laptop ringer. Tip of the hat to Fausto. Red is winning silly season just by catching Gresini and Bonesaw with an open mitt. Coup! The odds of a Ducati Alien sure just went up.

Not 1,2,3 on points. 1,2,3 on race wins. Aprilia knows they aren't winning the title. But a couple of race wins out of Mav? That's a different story.

Interesting comparison. On the surface they seem like polar opposites. But if you dig really deep you discover that...they really are polar opposites!

Dovi thinks everything through beforehand, and is able to strategize perhaps better than any other racer while piloting a two wheeled missile at 200mph. But it is possible that if he didn't always stop to think he might have a championship.

I believe that Mav is a really, really fast racer who is just not incredibly intelligent--his situation is not much more complicated than that. I can't fault Aprilia for their decision, Mav is their best option, but he will not win them a championship or develope the bike.

Great psych to bikes analysis and symbolism. Enjoyable read. Thanks, Motoshrink.

The professor thinks a lot during the race with a very clear mind. Is able to discern the limits--whether coming from machine or the rider. Hated it when Stoner would come by the box and tell him how to ride because he knew he couldn't replicate Stoner's ingenuity on the Ducati. Dovi is always calculating and rarely goes for it without a plan. Said he did just that on the last corner at Austria while battling with Marc on the last lap. Felt extremely powerful in the moment of the unknown. Dark horse power. Gossip at PPP is that the structure of the Aprilia team is too chaotic for him. Bike is good though.

If there's one thing Vinales needs is a solid structure around him. Word is it was neither Vinales' or Yamaha's doing, Garcia got fed up and left. Vinales seems to be a guy that gets muddled when it comes to cognitive understanding during and after the race. Can he determine what's going on and admit when the rider screws up or makes the wrong call? Seems like the move to Aprilia (if he doesn't go to VR46) would be another soft front gamble when everyone else is on the medium. Impulsive. First time on a V4. I don't doubt the guy's talent, but he occasionally reminds me of Gibernau during the Rossi battles--barging to the front and clearing off. Funny thing is, Vinales looked to turn a new leaf in the Qatar 1 race. Battled through nearly half the field and took the win in commanding style. Measured and thoughtful responses in the post race presser. But, nowadays he is practically answering the question before the interviewer is even finished asking it. Lots of tension and confusion. He needs something. Hope he finds it.

I believe Dovi would be a better fit at Aprilia with his wealth of V4 experience and knowledge combined with his analytical skills. Only the rumor mill says don't get the hopes up. Wildcards would be nice. 

Who are you calling old? 

I can still swing this handbag hard you know. Watch yourself mister.


v Hey Brian, have you seen Raul Fernandez and KTM info? Fingers crossed that we get to see him in Aqua! Orange already has THREE very well filled seats. Herve said he is announcing after Break. Know anything mate?