The marriage between Maverick Vinales and Yamaha it shattered into a thousand pieces over the course of 2021, to the mutual dissatisfaction of the driver and team. First the announcement of the conclusion of the relationship a year earlier than the existing contract and then the definitive separation of the past few days, following the behavior of the Spaniard in the first Austrian race. Too fragmented the pieces to put back together, even if only to think of arriving together at the end of the season, given the palpable frustration on both sides. Yet when in January 2020 Yamaha made official the two-year renewal of Vinales, the Iwata house wanted to show its strength in the negotiations, making the 2013 Moto3 champion autograph a hefty contract worth 8 million a year, in order to to snatch him from the Ducati temptation, which in turn proposed a two-year agreement to the rider’s entourage.
Rewinding the tape, Lin Jarvis, head of the Yamaha team, wanted to go back to that choice: “There are so many unexpected things happening in this business, we have since started to think that we had signed the contract too soon“, The manager honestly admitted, adding:”In June 2021 we were faced with a rider who wanted to leave despite a contract, and this prompted us to carry out an in-depth analysis to see if we made any mistakes. We want to avoid finding ourselves in similar situations again, but at the time closing the deal with Maverick was the best decision “. The team leaders wanted to avoid Vinales’ escape towards rivals: “He had the concrete possibility of join the official Ducati team for 2021 and 2022. And at the same time, for 2021, we expected Valentino to join Petronas ”.
And Rossi’s farewell to the Yamaha factory team was one of the reasons that led Jarvis to block Vinales: “Without Vale, he could have become the team leader this season. We always thought Valentino overshadowed Maverick and after his departure we expected a big step. But this did not happen. Sometimes they are winning decisions, sometimes they are not“, Jarvis concluded philosophically in the interview with Speedweek.