In news that will no doubt send shockwaves throughout the MotoGP™ paddock, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP have announced they will split from Maverick Viñales at the end of the 2021 season. After rumours gathered pace on Saturday at the Motul TT Assen, the news paves the way for Viñales to sign with Aprilia for the 2022 MotoGP™ World Championship.
The termination of Viñales' deal one year early comes following the Spaniard's request, with Yamaha agreeing to put an early end to the two-year contract. Currently in their fifth season together, Viñales has achieved eight victories in the blue of Yamaha since signing in 2017. The former Moto3™ World Champion has never failed to finish outside of the top six in the World Championship with Yamaha too, finishing third in 2017 and 2019.
However, after finishing last at the German Grand Prix one week ago, the relationship had clearly soured. Not even a second place finish at the Motul TT Assen on Sunday could save the marriage, with Viñales now heavily linked to sign with Aprilia for 2022.
Maverick Viñales: "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."
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing: "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."