Do MotoGP contracts mean anything?
This is not the first time that the sometimes brooding figure of Figueres, the homeland of Salvador Dali, has shown surrealist behavior. In 2012, with three rounds remaining and (after five wins) second in the new Moto3 championship, he had a mathematical, albeit remote, chance of winning. He arrived in Malaysia for the GP only to turn around and go home again. He had already planned to leave his Honda team at the end of the year, now a meltdown means he left earlier.
Strong tactics convinced him to come back for the last two races, and the following year, riding a KTM, he won the championship before rising through the ranks. He rebuilt his reputation as a special rider after leading Suzuki’s return to MotoGP in 2015 and securing his first victory in 2016, then joining Yamaha in 2017. Alongside Rossi, however, he shared growing difficulties for the brand. Its results have become increasingly erratic. To be fair, the same goes for those of the brilliant new star Quartararo, in the satellite team for two years, and whose challenge for the title in early 2020 has deteriorated with a series of bad races. Vinales beat him in points both years. Which clearly made the situation difficult to bear this year. In the eighth lap, Quartararo’s four victories and two other podiums had far exceeded him.
The low point came in Germany; a week later, in Assen, Vinales bitterly explained that the team, instead of building a bike to suit their style, were instead trying to redesign their styling to fit Quartararo’s bike. A statement that left the technical staff stunned.
Still at just 26, the timing of Vinales’ toys release could work in her favor. Aprilia’s all-new bike is significantly better than the last, and he could be the rider that will make it fully competitive.
If he were to make the commute there, it would be at the expense of former Ducati veteran star Andrea Dovizioso, who is currently acting wisely as an Aprilia development rider, after taking a year off from the hustle and bustle. . His hoped-for return in 2021 is now in jeopardy.