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It’s been the news that’s had everyone talking on Thursday ahead of the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), due to “unexplained irregular operation of the motorcycle” in last weekend’s Styrian GP, has been withdrawn and suspended by Yamaha for the second Red Bull Ring encounter.
After a promising start before the race was red-flagged following an incident involving Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) that caused a huge oil spill and fire, Viñales then stalled his bike on the grid just before the warm up lap began for the restart. Subsequently, the Spaniard was forced to take his bike off the grid and start the restarted Styrian GP from the pitlane exit.
Is Viñales hitting the limiter the reason behind suspension?
After catching and passing some riders in the opening exchanges, Viñales was then handed a Long Lap Penalty for exceeding track limits. After the Long Lap Penalty had been served with 15 laps to go, Viñales wasn’t able to recover the positions he had gained prior to the penalty.
Heading into the closing stages, Cal Crutchlow (Petronas Yamaha SRT) then passed Viñales with four laps to go, with the number 12 going from lapping in the late 1:25s to suddenly posting three full laps that included a 1:30.3, a 1:31.8 and a 1:30.6 – around five seconds off his previous pace.
Then, on the final lap, the OnBoard images show Viñales causing the bike to hit the rev limiter on the exit of Turn 8 before he pulled into pitlane, where again he hit the rev limiter on his YZR-M1 on two occasions. In coming into pitlane on the last lap, Viñales didn’t cross the line to finish the race.
We now await to see what happens next between Yamaha and Viñales in 2021. What we do know is the Iwata factory have confirmed no one will replace him for this weekend’s second Red Bull Ring instalment, leaving World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo as the sole Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider on track.
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