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MotoGP Dutch GP

Vinales says “time” is now showing why he left Yamaha MotoGP team in 2021

Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales believes he is being vindicated for his decision to quit the Yamaha MotoGP team in 2021 amid the Japanese marque’s current problems.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Vinales joined Yamaha for the 2017 season and stayed there until midway through 2021, scoring eight of his nine MotoGP victories with the squad.

As his results slumped following a round one win in Qatar in 2021, the relationship between Vinales and Yamaha had soured irreparably by the time of the Dutch GP – at which he was on pole and finished second.

On the Monday after the Assen round, Yamaha announced it had agreed to part ways with Vinales a year earlier than his contract stipulated, before he was sacked after being found to have deliberately tried to damage his bike’s engine in the Styrian GP.

The 2023 season has been difficult for Yamaha, with Vinales noting that the complaints he was making about the bike in 2021 are the same as both Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli are making now.

“I really believe that time will give the reason as to why I left,” Vinales said on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Dutch GP.

“I think a lot of riders now are complaining, as I was complaining three years ago.

“But in any case, I was riding behind [Yamaha in Germany] and they were struggling.

“Maybe they will arrive here [at Assen] and they are in front, I don’t know. But in the Sachsenring, they struggled a lot.”

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Vinales sits 10th in the standings, four points behind Quartararo, having scored Aprilia’s only podium of the season so far in Portugal when he was second.

The Aprilia rider’s Germany weekend was curtailed by a double DNF, with his Sunday race retirement due to an engine failure.

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Vinales says this was “lucky” as it revealed performance issues he had been battling since the Italian GP which left both himself and Aprilia stumped.

“Well, I think in Sachsenring we’ve been very lucky in a certain way because we broke the engine,” he added.

“We deeply analysed the engine and we understood there was a problem.

“So, I ran all the weekend with engine problems and for us it was very weird in the Sachsenring we were not close enough, because normally our potential there is very high.

“I started FP1 between the top five, so we didn’t understand it very well.

“Now we understand it, so at least we arrived to Assen knowing this. We tried many things to try to understand and the problem was one thing.

“It’s always very important to understand where the problem was, and at the end we need to believe in our data.

“We know we are strong with a bike with a certain setting, certain amount of power on the bike.

“So, if something’s going wrong we need to deeply analyse before things happen. We’ve been very late, because I think Sachsenring was a very good opportunity to do a top five.”

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