Moto3 championship hopeful Maverick Vinales made the shock move of announcing he was quitting the Blusens Avintia team with immediate effect in free practice at Sepang , with three races of the season still remaining.
His chances of winning this season are now more mathematical than realistic and it had been announced in Aragon that the teenage Spaniard had re-signed for the team, the deal being another year in Moto3 followed by a guaranteed move up to Moto2 the following year with Blusens.
Following Vinales row with the team he apparently went for discussions with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta. It was also rumoured that he had parted with his manager (who is also Avintia’s sporting director) as he was not informed of two other contract offers tabled to him.
Maverick then put his side of the story via a Q&A on MotoGP.com:
Q. Maverick, we were quite surprised not to see you on track this morning, what’s the situation?
A. We won’t take part in the race as the team hasn’t complied with the agreement we had.
Q. However you’re under contract with the team…
A. Yeah, you can sign whatever you want, but when things just get worse and worse, you have to find solutions.
Q. What did you request for those last three races, what pushed you to make this decision?
A. Since halfway through the season, they haven’t done all they could, I’m always giving my best – so I wanted to leave the team after those last three races and have a “clean” break-up, but they wouldn’t agree so today I’m heading home.
Q. But the plan was to leave at the end of the season, not now…
A. Yeah, definitely – it’s always better to finish in a good way but if they want to be difficult then we will be difficult too. I would have raced until the end of the season if they agreed to release me at the end of the year.
Q. Is it all about not getting the bike you wanted or because you felt you weren’t supported by the team as much as you wished?
A. It’s not that much about the support, but I think it’s a second division team – I have to try and win the Championship next year and I don’t think I could do it with this team, so that’s why I took this decision.
Team manager Ricard Jove also gave his version of events:
“He first told us last night that he did not want to continue until the end of the season because he was unhappy with the bike, and we at first thought it was just him saying something like any other rider….well, in the end he didn’t turn up and we don’t take this behaviour very well, because in the end we are second in the championship, have taken five wins, seven podiums and have had a worthy season. It does not make any kind of sense to not at least finish the championship – about this I cannot say any more – but it was the rider who ultimately decided not to get on the bike.
“This works in reverse as well as you have a contract – you work, do the season, and then we can discuss, away from the media limelight, if we terminate the deal. But now, you can’t stop from one day to the next as you have commitments with the sponsors, with the mechanics, the years spent with the team in his career. We should not be nothing to him; it has been a pleasure to work together but today it is clear that before reaching that point you have to first finish your work and then discus other points.
“For conditions that we cannot accept if not discussed, this decision cannot be reached in ten or twelve hours. We are really sorry because it is not a situation created by us and we are confident we have given the maximum at all times, but obviously there are days you win and days you lose, and you have to learn to win and you have to learn to lose.
“Next year, he’s already been informed of everything that would be available or would not have been. And I repeat that this is simply an error airing these views that you could discuss, try to fix, and within a few hours something could have changed. We do not understand his decision and we feel bad for the team; I think it’s wrong by the sponsors and the people who are contributing to his career.”
A possible factor for consideration is losing Repsol as reported here: http://www.motocuatro.com/index.php/moto3/5098-repsol-dejara-de-patrocinar-a-vinales-y-apostara-por-alex-marquez-y-rins-en-moto3 as sponsor to both the team and Vinales personally, which may have had a hand in the moves of either or both parties concerned.
At the time of this action Vinales had moved back into second in the Championship standings.