Following the last MotoGP race at Portimao nearly two weeks ago, Maverick Vinales and Jack Miller were the targets of fan abuse, with the Yamaha rider removing himself from the Social Media platform that is Twitter. 

Social media is somewhat of a necessity in this day and age for professional athletes, as fan interaction, marketing sponsors and themselves, and sustaining a public image, have all become a part of everyday life, but it’s also become a platform for unfair criticism and abuse to be shown sadly.

Heading into tomorrow’s opening day of the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez, various MotoGP riders were asked about their thoughts on the current situation. 

Franco Morbidelli: "Yeah I realised that Maverick [Vinales], got rid of Twitter. I’m sorry about that because it’s a great shame. Some people just want to release hatred and they pick a big guy, a big image like Maverick is, and they just throw at him their frustrations in this case without caring about the way they deliver the message. It was a bad thing to see. It’s a bad thing to see usually as it seems to be a usual thing now. 

"I’m sorry about that, and sorry that Maverick cut the connection with his fans at least on Twitter, due to some stupid guys, or unpoilte guys. I hope that he will stabilize his connection to his fans. I read some comments but I never experienced this kind of cyberbullying. 

"I read some comments and some were actually funny; I laughed because they were not too heavy, but when they go past being too heavy, you don’t laugh any more. I think that these haters should express, but in a better way and a better manner."

One rider who didn’t hold back on the topic of fan hate was factory Lenovo Ducati’s Jack Miller.

The Australian said: "I understand it’s a necessary evil in this world that we live in. For me I’m quite happy to turn off the phone and not look at it for months at a time. It doesn’t bother me. I’m not missing anything. But, it’s just bullshit people can be so negative. You are here just trying to do your best. 

"At the end of the day, we’re all human, and mistakes happen, things happen. F*ck, it doesn’t mean you have to rip on us. The biggest thing I get angry about is a lot of people wouldn’t say this to my face. If they would, it would be a lot of fun. In the end it doesn’t happen like this. I put people in control of my social media. They run it. It has to be authentic and say exactly what I’m thinking. 

"But at the end of the day, I don’t want to waste my energy and my time looking at this shit. But I understand it’s a necessary evil. There are a lot of people now in the world when there aren’t a lot of things happening, there are a lot of people there sitting, looking at their phone, waiting for the next thing. It doesn’t bother me one bit. I just turn it off, and that’s it. 

"I don’t think deleting it is the way to go. There are some real fans out there who want to hear the news from you. But like I said, I have all mine running but I have somebody running it for me and that’s it."

While Miller mentioned that he does not ‘think deleting’ social media accounts is the way to go, it is something Aleix Espargaro has been thinking of doing like Vinales. 

Espargaro: "I’m very angry with this. Sincerely Maverick has been the first one. But I think Jack was close to doing the same. I’m thinking also of doing the same with my Twitter. Everybody has to relax. If not, the only thing we’ll gain is all the athletes will close their profiles.

"With this hate that we see on social media the only thing people will gain is the athletes profiles will be in charge by big companies. Will not have any personal ones again, like it is for myself. 

"We have to deal with people who don’t like you, to improve in life you have to accept criticism. The problem we see on Twitter is it is one of the worst social media places where you can see a lot of hate. 

"You shouldn’t have to deal with this. In the end I know how is Maverick. He’s one of the best people I’ve met in my life. He’s a very good kid. On a MotoGP bike, which is his job – he tries to be as fast and do the best possible. 

"But everyone can have a bad day. (in that case fans), can stop following somebody or be more educated (polite). But why if he finishes 12th or 2nd he has to deal with the hate of somebody."