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Maverick Vinales

Maverick Vinales
Country: 
Full Name: 
Maverick Vinales
Birth Date: 
12 January, 1995
Birth Place: 
Figueres, Spain
Driver Status: 
Current

1
Championship Titles

187
Races
25
Wins
24
Poles
1
Titles

Maverick Vinales Biography

Having made a shock split from Yamaha, Maverick Vinales will take part in his first full MotoGP season for the Factory Aprilia team in 2022.

Making his MotoGP debut in 2015 after winning the 2013 Moto3 title and finishing third in his rookie Moto2 campaign in 2014, Vinales joined Suzuki and emerged as the standout in 2016 when he scored the manufacturer's first win for nine years at Silverstone.

Tempted away to Yamaha, Vinales won eight races over the next 4.5 years but was never able to mount a sustained title challenge. His frustration at inconsistent results on the M1 eventually reached a breaking point in 2021...

Maverick Vinales - Route to MotoGP

Making his grand prix debut in 2011, Vinales’ 125GP entry certainly caught attention by being sponsored by socialite Paris Hilton, even if the heiress to the Hilton hotel group fortune was embroiled in controversy when she reportedly failed to honour PA agreements.

Despite this, Vinales didn’t let it distract him on track and he was a standout performer in his rookie season with four victories lifting him to third in the overall standings.

Sticking with the Blusens team for 2012 as the series morphed into Moto3, Vinales won five races but couldn’t match the metronomic consistency of champion Sandro Cortese, the Spaniard ending the year third again.

It was a case of third time lucky for Vinales in 2013 when a switch to KTM machinery at Team Calvo landed him the title despite a relatively modest three wins. However, with podiums in all but two races, Vinales succeeded in overhauling Alex Rins by 12 points.

Stepping up to Moto2 with the Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Pons Racing team, Vinales was a race winner on only his second outing. Though unable to match eventual champion Tito Rabat, Vinales notched up three wins in the final five races to secure third and comfortably highest place rookie.

Maverick Vinales in MotoGP (2015 - Present)

Suzuki (2015 - 2016)

Vinales was fast-tracked to MotoGP after four wins during his only season in Moto2. He went on to show maturity beyond his 20 years as he methodically learnt the intricacies of the premier-class and new GSX-RR machine in 2015.

Vinales scored points in the opening ten races - an unprecedented feat for a rookie - and qualified second on the grid at Catalunya, just 0.083s behind experienced team-mate Aleix Espargaro.

The younger Spaniard went on to claim what would be Suzuki’s best result of its comeback season with sixth in the race, a result Espargaro later matched at Aragon and Vinales repeated at Sepang.

Espargaro got the better of Vinales by just eight points in the final championship standings.

Maverick’s performances soon saw him picked out as a future MotoGP ‘Top Gun’ by the likes of Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi.

Unsurprisingly, Suzuki faced a real fight to keep hold of its young star beyond 2016 - and, by the time he won the factory's first race since 2007 at Silverstone, he was already confirmed as moving to Yamaha.

In 2016, Vinales and the improving GSX-RR made their ambitions known by leading the Phillip Island pre-season test. Vinales fell while in pursuit of a debut MotoGP rostrum at round two in Argentina, but typically didn't make the same mistake twice and scored in every other race. Indeed, in a season with a record number of accidents, 21-year-old Vinales was the only premier-class rider to make less mistakes than last year - falling just five times during GP weekends, compared with eight in his rookie season.

The inevitable first rostrum came at Le Mans and, after the GSX-RR struggled in the mid-season rain, Vinales romped to victory at Silverstone in September.

It was Suzuki's first MotoGP win since 2007, but first in the dry since the start of the four-stroke era in 2002. Unfortunately for Suzuki, Vinales had already decided to accept Yamaha's offer to replace Jorge Lorenzo in 2017. Nevertheless, they were able to celebrate two more podiums together and an excellent fourth in the final world championship standings.

Vinales - who also claimed five front-row starts - scored more than twice the points of team-mate Espargaro, who had put the Suzuki on pole in 2015.

Yamaha Factory (2017 - 2021)

After proving instantly fast on his Yamaha debut, the Spanish rider produced the dream start to his Yamaha career by winning both of his opening races in Qatar and Argentina but a crash at the Americas MotoGP stalled his early title attack.

Vinales bounced back with a win at Le Mans, seeing off team-mate Valentino Rossi, before taking an impressive second place at Mugello to see him hold a 26-point lead in the standings after six races.

But a low-key Catalunya race followed by a crash at Assen saw Andrea Dovizioso take the championship lead off of him. Just three further podium finishes in his maiden Yamaha season saw him finish third in the riders' final standings.

An uncompetitive Yamaha package in 2018 restrained his efforts to three podium finishes across the opening half of the year but as Yamaha began its recovery efforts positive signs emerged as Vinales claimed third place in Thailand and victory in Australia to end the season strongly with fourth place in the championship.

A tough start to 2019 meant Vinales was playing catch-up throughout the season but still remained a frequent podium finisher. Victories at Assen and Sepang were true highlights in a year dominated by Marc Marquez as Vinales had to settle for third place overall.

Primed for a title tilt in 2020, Vinales stock rose on the back of Marquez's time out through injury but found himself playing catch up during the first-half of the season to Fabio Quartararo on the satellite Petronas SRT Yamaha.

Indeed, though Vinales was often a star on Saturdays, his Sunday performances - as shown throughout his Yamaha career - were often found lacking. He eventually found the top step at Misano, but it would prove to be his only win with solid, but not sparkling, consistency at least earning him a creditable sixth overall.

With Rossi replaced by Fabio Quartararo, Vinales had the chance to establish himself as Yamaha's clear number one rider and the 2021 season began perfectly with victory in Qatar. But cracks soon started to appear with Vinales' results dropping from 1st to 5th to 11th over the following rounds.

While Quartararo continued to rack up podiums, wins and the world championship lead, Vinales wallowed at the lower end of the top ten. A fifth place at Catalunya, proved a false dawn and the Spaniard hit rock bottom with last at the Sachsenring before a glum podium return at Assen.

Soon to be confirmed rumours were by then circulating that Vinales was ready to walk away (a year early) from his highly paid Yamaha contract, leaving a bike with which he had won the opening race and finished second (from pole) at Assen, and team that was leading the world championship with Quartararo. As if that wasn't sensational enough, Vinales' chosen destination was Aprilia, the only manufacturer on the grid without a race win or indeed podium (at that time).

But the drama wasn't over yet.

While Vinales and Yamaha announced they had agreed to finish the season together before going their separate ways for 2022, Vinales was then suspended for deliberately over-revving his engine in frustration during the next event in Austria. An instant split was agreed, clearing the way for Vinales to join Aprilia earlier than planned. 

Aprilia Gresini / Aprilia Factory  (2021 - Present)

Following the Yamaha split, Vinales made his Aprilia debut during a private Misano test before joining the race team alongside good friend Aleix Espargaro (and in place of injured rookie Lorenzo Savadori, who returned to the role of test and wild-card rider) at Aragon.

Espargaro had made history with the RS-GP's first podium at the previous Silverstone round and, having been outpaced by Vinales at Suzuki, proved he would be no pushover by out-qualifying incoming Vinales during their five end-of-season events together. Espargaro also finished ahead of Vinales on the three occasions they both reached the chequered flag.

Vinales withdrew from the COTA MotoGP round in the aftermath of his 15-year-old cousin Dean Berta Vinales' tragic death in an SSP300 race at Jerez.

Aprilia will split from the Gresini team in 2022 and run its own Factory effort, with Espargaro and Vinales both contracted to the end of 2022.

Since 2021 the RS-GP has been the only bike on the MotoGP grid that still has access to technical concessions, allowing perks such as engine development during the season, more engine changes and extra testing.