Vinales splits with crew chief, hires ex-Rossi man - The Race
MotoGP

Vinales splits with crew chief, hires ex-Rossi man

Jun 2 2021
By Simon Patterson

Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales has attempted to turn around his struggling 2021 MotoGP form by parting ways with crew chief Esteban Garcia, according to The Race’s sources in the paddock. He will instead draft in Valentino Rossi’s former chief Silvano Galbusera, with the Italian moving from Yamaha’s test team to the factory garage at this weekend’s Catalan Grand Prix at Montmelo.

The news was officially confirmed by Yamaha on Thursday morning.

Garcia has a long history with Vinales, having won the 2013 Moto3 world championship together before the Spaniard moved to Red Bull KTM where he became Bradley Smith’s crew chief. He was tempted back to work with Vinales at the end of 2018, with the rider saying at the time that he had given him ‘much more confidence’ during pre-season testing.

He was brought in to replace one of the most respected names in the paddock Ramon Forcada after Vinales decided he no longer wanted to continue working with the man who won three world championships at Yamaha with Jorge Lorenzo.

That acrimonious split, in turn, created a perfect partnership at the then-new satellite Petronas Yamaha squad, as the Iwata manufacturer moved Forcada over to work with new signing Franco Morbidelli. Together, the pair won three races in 2020 (two more than Vinales) en route to second in the championship.

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Galbusera is a former Yamaha World Superbike crew chief who himself was the replacement for a previous veteran when Valentino Rossi selected him as his new technical guru in 2013 when he dramatically sacked long-time partner Jeremy Burgess.

The nine-time world champion in turn decided to replace Galbusera at the end of the 2019 season in the hopes of reinvigorating his flagging results, promoting David Munoz from his own Moto2 team into the factory Yamaha squad before they both left to join Petronas Yamaha for 2021.

Since 2019, Galbusera has remained a part of the Yamaha team, working first with Jorge Lorenzo and then with Cal Crutchlow as crew chief to the firm’s European test team.

Vinales currently sits sixth in the championship while his team-mate Fabio Quartararo holds a 24-point advantage at the top of the standings after six races.

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