Maverick Vinales opened up on his current “desperate” situation at Yamaha and the reports of a future move to Aprilia as he faced a barrage of questions from the media in the aftermath of the Dutch TT.
The Assen race immediately followed Vinales’ horrific German Grand Prix weekend, and against the backdrop of news that he was set for an early end to his Yamaha tenure despite having a contract in place for 2022.
Vinales – who recently had Silvano Galbusera installed as his crew chief in place of his friend Esteban Garcia – started the Dutch TT from pole, but ended up coming home second to team-mate Fabio Quartararo.
In the post-race press conference, he denied the reports that he had agreed a deal with Aprilia but made it abundantly clear that leaving Yamaha midway through his current deal was a possibility.
His answers came after Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola acknowledged the team’s interest in Vinales on Sunday but made it clear that Aprilia would only act on this interest if Vinales was free from Yamaha.
Below is a comprehensive, edited transcript of Vinales’ answers when the media quizzed him on all those topics.
On Aprilia reports:
“For sure I have something to say. I read one tweet, from one guy, on DaZN [reporting Vinales was looking to terminate his Yamaha deal and could join Aprilia], he is totally wrong.
“I don’t know what to say, honestly. One thing it’s clear is that here [at Yamaha] I cannot take out my maximum. I need to find my line. Sometimes it is difficult, I need to find something that gives me the opportunity to give the maximum, every lap, every race, every track.”
On the mood in the Yamaha garage and his solemn look in parc ferme:
“Yeah, well, everything is super good.”
On whether he could confirm he would stay at Yamaha in 2022:
“Well, the only thing I would like to do is to give my maximum. This is what I want to do.”
On whether the current situation makes “giving my maximum” possible:
“It’s not possible. Because we have many issues, that will stay with me because I don’t want to give an excuse. Today Fabio was very fast, it’s the only thing I can say.”
On the probability of staying with Yamaha:
“Honestly I cannot give you an answer – but what is clear is that here I cannot take out the maximum I have inside.
“So, yeah, I’m desperate, honestly, to take out [the maximum], because it’s many races that it’s there inside and I really wanted to take it out. So, here in Assen I could give a little bit more and in Austria we will try to find a way to give it even more.”
On Quartararo’s block at the start of Dutch TT:
“At the start he just crossed [my line] so I needed to close the gas. Everything was more complicated, but this is racing. One time it can happen to one rider, next time can happen to another, but this is racing.
“Just I was not able to overtake Taka [Nakagami]. I think this is the real problem of the race, because if in one/two laps I could overtake him, would be a totally different race.”
On his cancelled Friday media debrief:
“I really wanted to talk to all of you, but we decided with the team to stop a little bit the media, especially after the bad result of Sachsenring.
“I think the meaning of that was to not say anything bad, after the bad result. And, from the human side, the result from Sachsenring was very painful.
“This was disrespectful for myself as a rider and it’s difficult to forget honestly. I’ve never been in this position in my life, not even when I started racing. So, yeah, it was very painful, honestly. It makes me think a lot, it makes me hurry many things.
“Let’s see. I have to say thanks to Yamaha for this great weekend, and then we will see.”
On Yamaha Japan’s past efforts to keep him despite rivals’ interest:
“I have a really good relationship with Yamaha Japan. I think they are great. They put a lot of enthusiasm and encouragement.
“When they signed me again in 2020, I was pretty like, ‘what?’ Because I could not give my maximum. I told the team that I was not giving up, I don’t know why I was not able [to get the maximum].
“They signed me again, for two more years. And the point I am at now, I don’t understand why.
“For sure I have a lot of respect for Yamaha, a lot. And I appreciate them a lot. Because they invest a lot of time in myself, and for sure we make good results.
“But I don’t know why I was not able to be more fast and more consistent. Overall, just thinking on myself, the only words I can say to Yamaha is thank you for the opportunities.
“I think they are always great, always happy, always with a smile for me, and this is the most important.”
On whether he’s disappointed with the personnel side and the technical side:
“Obviously I am more disappointed about the technical side. Not about the human because finally we were good.
“Human [side] is not bad. I don’t have to say nothing. But technical, yes, for sure I have to say – 2018 was difficult, ’19 somehow we found a way, but in ’20 again we changed everything, we changed the bike and we started to lose the way again.
“Honestly, on the human [side], I’m happy. I have to say I appreciate a lot the guys in Yamaha. This is the important side at the end.
“But Germany was very painful. It was hard to eat that result. Very hard.”