Maverick Vinales has launched an extraordinary attack on his Monster Energy Yamaha team following today’s German Grand Prix, with the Spaniard hinting at a “lack of respect” within the. The tirade follows an exceptionally difficult weekend for him that saw his race end in last place – but crucially saw teammate Fabio Quartararo extend his championship lead in third.
Vinales’ weekend took a turn towards disaster starting with a crash in FP3 that saw him fail to move automatically to Q2. After he failed to make an impact in Q1 and started today’s race from 21st, it went from bad to worse in the race as he struggled to move forwards.
A 19th-place finish marked the first time Vinales has ever finished outside the points in the premier class – and prompted him to accuse the team of disrespect afterwards as he continues to struggle what he says are the same old problems with rear grip.
“I always have the same problem and that is that the rear wheel skids a lot,” he fumed afterwards. “I have been saying it since Portimao and there is no solution. Yes it is true that we are working , but… six races have already passed to find a solution.
“I really try to be calm, I try to work, I try to do everything. But the result is the same. And then if you have a Ducati in front of you, the frustration is incredible.
“When I had like 15 laps behind [Luca] Marini and [Enea] Bastianini… I could not pass them. I prepared really well, downhill, everything – they have more power, they brake later.
“I’m sorry but with this bike it’s impossible. When I arrived to Franco [Morbidelli] I overtook quite well, just in the first try I overtook him, because against a Yamaha it is much more easier but with the Ducati it’s so hard.”
Even worse than being stuck behind the Ducatis, though, is the extraordinary admission that he purposely dropped back during the race, in a move that some have suggested was a signal to Yamaha about his concerns.
“So basically when I spent 10 laps there,” he explained, “I said ‘okay, I’ll go back, I’ll take fresh air, and I will try to collect data and see how the bike is working alone’. I could make low 1m22s laps at the end of the race, which is not bad.
“While behind them [the Ducatis], I was making [1m]23.5s laps. It’s a big difference.
“But overall, I don’t know. Nobody has the answer to what is going on here. We have to keep working. We have Assen that even with a Moto2 bike I can be fast, so we’re going to try the maximum.”
Vinales’ frustration seems to stem entirely from what he perceives as an inadequate Yamaha response to his difficult situation.
“Let him go out to collect data and work,” he says when asked what Yamaha’s response was. “And what do I do? Do I finish 23rd? I’m not here to do 23rd, or to collect data or to be a test rider. In the end, there comes a time that as a rider you say that it seems like a lack of respect.
“The easy way is to take Fabio’s setting, try to adapt, give 100% and see how far I go, but this is not the solution. If I really want to win I have to do it with my own motorcycle.
“Someone else’s settings are not the solution. Yes, one day you can be inspired and it may work well, but it is not the solution. I have been doing I don’t know how many races, since Portimao, in this situation.”
And while he’s angry at the suggestion that he should use races as test sessions, Vinales even more angry at the suggestion that he should try to adapt himself to be more like Quartararo, who was praised by former Petronas team-mate Franco Morbidelli on Saturday for his “romantic lines” with the M1.
“It shouldn’t be like that,” insisted Vinales. “Each rider has to have his settings. It can’t be that he has been using a rival’s settings for two years. It can’t be. Each one has to carry the settings for their own style and every day they teach me to be a pilot. Take the brake, release the brake, open the throttle, do not open the throttle.
“It is very difficult, as a pilot it is very complicated, because you have to have a lot of patience and I don’t want to use Fabio’s settings because I don’t ride like him. I’m not going to adapt to something that is going well for him, but it’s not going well for me. I have to build a motorcycle for myself. I don’t want to use another rider’s settings ”
The whole situation brings into question whether the seemingly nuclear option of sacking long-time crew chief and close friend Esteban Garcia in place of former Valentino Rossi technical guru Silvano Galbusera was the correct move, given that so far there seems to have been zero impact to Vinales’ on-track performance.
What makes the whole situation even more incredible is that it comes only a few short months after the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, which the Spaniard won in impressive style.
Sunday’s extraordinary tirade arguably calls into question Vinales’ entire future with the team, given that there seems to be no end in sight to his woes. However, contracted to the team until the end of the 2022 season and with no other MotoGP options open to him in the interim, it seems unlikely that he’s going to find an alternative ride should he request to walk away and be granted a release.