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Yamaha and Viñales Agree to Early Termination of Contract; Viñales to Land at Aprilia … or Ducati?

In the following press release, Yamaha and Maverick Viñales announced that they will be parting ways at the end of this year – ending Viñales’ MotoGP contract with Yamaha one year early.

Maverick Viñales is an extremely talented rider who has struggled, at times, with wildly inconsistent results while at Yamaha. Viñales has 9 MotoGP victories and 28 podiums. He has also taken pole position in MotoGP 13 times. When he is fast, he is very fast.

There has been much speculation that Viñales will join the Aprilia MotoGP team next year alongside current Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro. However, Viñales has denied that he has a binding deal with Aprilia, and new speculation suggests he might ride a Ducati next year with Valentino Rossi’s new team, Aramco Racing Team VR46. A prominent rider like Viñales, it is speculated, would allow Valentino Rossi to retire from racing and concentrate on his role as team owner. MD will provide an update when Viñales announces where he will be riding in 2022.

Here is the press release from Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP:

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.”


  1. fred says:

    Maverick is talented, fast rider. He brings the bike home, almost always in the points.
    2021 – 1 win, 1 pole, 1 fastest lap. Started & finished every race, all but 1 in the points. Only Marini has also finished every race.

    2020 – 1 win, 3 poles, 2 seconds. Started & finished all but 1 race, all finishes in the points (Dovi only other rider to do that).

    2019 – 1 win, 3 poles, 1 second, 3 thirds, 1 fastest lap. 4 retirements, but 3rd in Championship.

    2018 – 1 win, 1 second, 3 thirds. Started every race, two retirements (only Rossi had fewer retirements (0). 4th in Championship.

    2017 – 3 wins, 2 seconds, 3 thirds. Started every race, two retirements (only Zarco had fewer retirements (1). 3rd in Championship.

    You can complain about Maverick all you want, but there are very few MGP riders with a better record. Pretty much would be a welcome addition to any team.

    • Motoman says:

      Oh sure fred. If you want to start quoting facts and be logical and whatnot. 😁🤪

    • mickey says:

      There are very few “current” MGP riders with a better record might be a better way to put it.

      1 win a season in the last 4 years is certainly not setting the world on fire. Quatararo has won that many so far THIS year on the SAME bike and the year is only half over. And you only need to finish in 15th place to be in the points.

      Yes, he’s fast “sometimes” and he’s also slow “sometimes” and you never know which Vinales is going to show up on Sunday. On his slow days he is a constant complainer and whiner. Yamaha doesn’t listen to me waa waa, Yamaha won’t build me a better bike waa waa. I have more talent than the Yamaha can show waa waa. It’s my crew, it’s my crew chief waa waa.

      He would not be a welcome addition to my team, I’d rather have Dovi.

  2. 5229 says:

    We must ask ourselves. Who cares?

    • Mick says:

      Sadly, they are just four strokes tamed by every electro nanny currently known to man. But this is supposed to be the premier motorcycle racing series, at least as far as automotive based racing venues are concerned.

      I can’t help but look in to see what’s going on. Here we have a jerk that occasionally gets fantastic results. A lot of small and medium sized sponsors will want to have their logo on the guy. It’s all business after all.

      That and it is clear that ice holes are popular now. Maybe even I’ll get a fan club some day. I’ll not hold my breath.

      • Dave says:

        It is the premier motorcycle racing series and the bikes aren’t “tame” by any stretch of the imagination. They’re faster and more powerful than anyone in the 2-stroke could’ve imagined they’d become.

        The class is also healthier and more competitive than it’s ever been, but that would be hard to see from your front porch and it’s blurry view of 25 years ago.

        • VLJ says:

          It’s true. The glory days of two-stroke racing that Mick looks upon with his rose-colored glasses featured multiple lapped riders, slow lap times, and massively spread-out fields filled with largely noncompetitive rides.


          A second or two separating first place through tenth is not unusual, and even the backmarkers are close enough that they can at least see the action up front. No more lapped riders.

          This isn’t Giacomo Agostini piloting the only factory bike in the field against a bunch of hopeless scrubs. There are no CRTs, no throw-away teams, no noncompetitive two-strokes getting their doors blown off by the four-strokes.

          The truth is, the current state of MotoGP features the most competitive racing the premier class has ever seen. The lap times are faster, the playing field is as close to level as it’s ever been, and the racing is much closer overall than it’s ever been.

          Case in point…

          As poorly as Rossi has been qualifying and finishing of late (when he’s managed to finish), his lap times have not been bad at all, compared to previous years. Often times, he’s right there, or even faster than he used to be.

          The problem is, so is everyone else, and being a second off per lap now punts you back to fifteenth place, not third place or fifth place, as it did in the two-stroke era.

          Who knows, perhaps the wafting scent of two-stroke oil and the angry sound of buzzing bees is so intoxicating to Mick that he doesn’t mind seeing his favorite riders going two seconds per lap slower while still lapping a bunch of rolling speed bumps. Or, maybe he just loves the sight of his favorite riders highsiding themselves into oblivion. Instead of posters of actual racers on his wall, I’m guessing Young Mick had posters of Garry McCoy and John Hopkins lying in traction in hospital beds, legs and shoulders in hard casts.

          • TimC says:

            “tamed by every electro nanny currently known to man” is also BS – the spec electronics have been a big part of the current parity.

            Now, Mick, just how fast are you on a 500cc 2-stroke vs a current MotoGP 4-stroke by the way?

  3. Hot Dog says:

    Good, don’t let the door hit him on the arse on the way out. I’m sick and tired of his whiny, pouty attitude. He gets a factory ride and all he can do is show his hurt feelings? See Ya! Now Yamaha better bring Frankie on board or I’m going to stomp my feet and pout…just like what’s his name used to do.

  4. richard says:

    ive been following Rossi since day 1 …ill be sad to seem him stop racing..however Vinales is lucky if he considers him for his team

  5. shane says:

    I can’t see why any team would want him other than whatever sponsorship money he brings. I didn’t even understand why Yamaha gave him a 2 year deal when he had been so wildly inconsistent and a perpetual whiner. Sure, he *can* be fast, if the stars align, he had a nice breakfast and his horoscope says he is supposed to go fast today, otherwise he either falls back at the beginning and halfway through the race remembers how to ride or just gives up and blames everyone but himself for why he was so slow. To expect him to develop the bike is certainly out of the question.

    He was such a spoil sport after the race this weekend, so disrespectful of his team, the people who helped him get a 2nd place.

    He’s a faster rider than I’ll ever be, but he brings nothing to a team.

    • Jeremy says:

      Given how fast he is during testing and practice sessions, Aprilia could benefit hugely from having him on the bike for a season just for the data.

      • TimC says:

        This is a good point.

      • VLJ says:

        Except for one possible problem…

        He’s that fast on the Yamaha during testing and practice sessions. Who’s to say he will be the same guy on the Aprilia? For all we know, he might hate it from Day One, and mentally cash in his chips right then and there.

        Think back to Valentino’s reaction following his first ride on the Ducati. Maverick may have the same reaction to the Aprilia.

        • Jeremy says:

          That’s certainly a possibility, but even that tells Aprilia something about the bike if a guy everyone knows can be really fast isn’t.

  6. Scott DeSart says:

    This is one guy I just can’t figure out. Last place, last race, then pole this race? It seems he’s been so inconsistent his whole career. Big hope for Yamaha to take over for Val. It just didn’t pan out.

  7. VLJ says:

    Considering how badly Ducati already wanted to sign either Maverick or Fabio before Yamaha locked them both up quite early in that particular signing period, it would seem to be a no-brainer for Ducati to go hard after Maverick now, especially with Valentino’s team adding two more Ducatis to the grid. With eight Bologna bikes lining up next season, Ducati has to be able to find a space for one of the fastest, most accomplished guys in the paddock.

    Aprilia? Seriously? If you’re Maverick, an habitual complainer who needs everything (mysteriously) just right before he can be himself on the bike, why would Maverick want to go there? For that matter, why would Aprilia be willing to set themselves up for a steady diet of public bashing from their moody new star pilot?

    Aprilia might still be better off going with Dovi, who is the better development rider, and who also knows how to keep his mouth shut when journos stick microphones in his face.

  8. mickey says:

    Interesting. That must mean Val is going to get 2022 Ducati’s and not old stock.

    Signing Vinales to VR46 could possibly make the satellite team have input in the WC. I didn’t see that coming.

    I don’t know, he is just so inconsistent.

    • VLJ says:

      Not sure why you wouldn’t see that coming. It’s Valentino Rossi. It’s Italy. It’s MotoGP. It’s Carmelo Ezpleleta.

      Kenny Roberts ran the factory Yamaha team for a decent while. You think living legend and national hero Valentino Rossi won’t eventually be given the same opportunity to head up a factory effort?

      Of course he will. It’s merely a matter of when, not if. MotoGP wants their lynchpin figure to remain in the public eye as an ambassador to the sport. They want him to win. They aren’t going to feed him leftovers or hand-me-downs.

      He’s going to get the good stuff, sooner rather than later. All of it, riders included.

      That’s why I couldn’t believe it when you said his team would “never make one iota of difference in the MotoGP championship…ever.”

      I thought, “Wait. This is mickey saying this? mickey, who has closely followed the sport for forty years? How does he not see the insanity in that statement? He already knows that two riders on satellite bikes nearly won the title just last year, and the guy in second place in the standings this year is on a satellite bike. ‘Ever’ is a long time, and he has to know that any team connected to Valentino Rossi will be given every opportunity to win. He could easily land a top rider in his first year there, never mind ‘ever.'”

      Yep, I was blown away by that one. “Knowing” you as I do, I couldn’t even chalk it up to you possibly posting while drunk!

    • mickey says:

      Yea sometimes I say things without considering ALL the possibilities. Was never good at Chess either lol.

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