Vinales was left ‘disillusioned’ at Yamaha, time with Aprilia ‘will come’

Maverick Vinales admits he was left ‘discouraged and disillusioned’ during his final season with Yamaha before securing an unlikely ride at Aprilia, which has since helped turn his MotoGP career around.
Maverick Vinales, Yamaha MotoGP Red Bull Ring, Austria 2021
Maverick Vinales, Yamaha MotoGP Red Bull Ring, Austria 2021

Throughout the 2021 MotoGP season it was becoming very apparent that the relationship between Vinales and Yamaha was fading. 

Negative comments were being made by Vinales, who didn’t feel he was getting the help necessary to be successful by Yamaha - a change of crew chief during the season added to the tension as his close friend Esteban Garcia was replaced by Silvano Galbusera - before an incident at the Red Bull Ring left Yamaha with no other option than to terminate his contract. 

In the midst of a dreadful Austrian Grand Prix, Vinales was caught over-revving his M1 in an attempt to damage the engine before returning to pit lane to retire from the race. 

Vinales was suspended and withdrawn from the Styrian Grand Prix after the incident took place less than a week prior at the Austrian MotoGP. 

Issues in the relationship began to arise in 2018 when Vinales felt like he was being ‘forgotten’ about, and although a new two-year deal was signed in 2020, major cracks began to show later that season and throughout 2021.

Vinales recently opened up about how the situation made him feel when speaking to Motorbike Magazine: "What am I going to tell you... Of course I was discouraged and disillusioned. Of course I didn't feel like racing, because when you come here and see that you have the ability to fight for the top positions and to try to fight for the title, and you do 10th or 12th... You lack that hunger. 

"But then after all those moments there comes a point where you always ask yourself the same question: "What are you passionate about?" And what I'm passionate about is racing a motorcycle. I am passionate about MotoGP and I am passionate about winning. 

"More than anything, I am passionate about winning. That's why I decided to continue, continue with Aprilia, and continue fighting for my dream, which is to be World Champion. 

"More than MotoGP or the paddock, what motivates me is the hunger to win. And I think that this is not lost, you are born with it."

In his attempts to become a MotoGP world champion one day, Vinales secured a move to Aprilia shortly after his split from Yamaha and despite early struggles getting accustomed to the RS-GP, the Spaniard reached a point midway through the 2022 campaign where podiums were being scored.

In fact, Vinales came very close to winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, only for Francesco Bagnaia to hold off the Aprilia man following a failed overtake on the penultimate lap. 

Vinales has repeatedly said that the atmosphere at Aprilia is better than during time at Yamaha, which he confirmed once again. 

Maverick Vinales, Valencia MotoGP test, 8 November
Maverick Vinales, Valencia MotoGP test, 8 November

"The atmosphere has been around for a long time and Aprilia has a very good atmosphere," added Vinales. "We know that our time will come, that we are building it and that we are working. 

"You have to be patient; I am not one of those who have a lot of patience, but it is something that I have had to practice and I continue to do. 

"I know our time will come and the time will come where we win races, but it needs work and a process, which is where we are right now."

Despite that, Vinales believes he is still lacking around 25% to be consistently fighting at the front.

Vinales was asked about his adaptation to the bike and how far he is to being fully comfortable, to which he stated: "I still have a hard time. I would say 70 or 75%. It is very difficult for me on certain occasions to get the most out of what the bike has. 

"It's something we need to work on and we'll work hard on for next year. I have the feeling that when we manage to get the most out of this bike, it has a lot of potential. 

"So that's our goal, to make every weekend perform at its best."

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