Updated: Feb 28
Written by: Andrew Lwanga
Edited by: Daniel Yi
Maverick Viñales with Yamaha earlier this season
The ever tense and rocky relationship between Yamaha and Maverick Viñales may have finally reached its boiling point.
In a statement released by Yamaha on Thursday morning, the team announced that it has withdrawn Viñales from the Austrian Grand Prix just one day before the race weekend.
The suspension comes as a result of what the team has termed as “unexplained irregular operation of the motorcycle by the rider during last weekend‘s Styria MotoGP race.”
At the Styria Grand Prix, Viñales finished the race in the pitlane due to what he called various electronics issues that resulted in a dashboard message informing him to pit. This has however been contradicted by various reports which suggest that the Spaniard tried to blow up the engine of his YZR-M1 on the way to the pits by over-revving it. This occurred despite the bike having a rev-limiter specifically for preventing actions of this nature.
Yamaha further stated that it’s decision is based on analysis of the data collected in the days following the race. Despite the team withdrawing the Spaniard, Viñales will not be replaced for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Yamaha’s statement further mentioned that Viñales’ participation in future races is subject to discussions between the rider and the team.
Viñales, who was on a two year contract with the team had requested to be let go at the end of this season, a request that was granted. While his future remains uncertain, there were several reports that Viñales was in negotiations with Aprillia though nothing has been confirmed. Following this row, one would expect the Spaniard may not need to wait until season’s end to become a free agent.
Read Yamaha’s full statement below.
“Yamaha regrets to announce that Maverick Vinales‘ entry to this weekend‘s Austrian MotoGP event has been withdrawn by the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team.
“The absence follows the suspension of the rider by Yamaha due to the unexplained irregular operation of the motorcycle by the rider during last weekend‘s Styria MotoGP race.
“Yamaha‘s decision follows an in-depth analysis of telemetry and data over the last days.
“Yamaha‘s conclusion is that the rider‘s actions could have potentially caused significant damage to the engine of his YZR-M1 bike which could have caused serious risks to the rider himself and possibly posed a danger to all other riders in the MotoGP race.
“The rider will not be replaced at the Austrian GP.
“Decisions regarding the future races will be taken after a more detailed analysis of the situation and further discussions between Yamaha and the rider.”