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GP Week : Issue 172
VINALES WALK-OUT LEAVES RACING STUNNED Riders voice support for teenage rebel Moto3 superstar and potentially major future grand prix talent Maverick Vinales shocked his team, fans and paddock when he walked out on the eve of the Malaysian GP – failing to arrive for first free practice, then turning up only to announce he was flying home to Spain. With five wins this year, Vinales failed to fulfil his role as pre-season favourite only because of four no-scores: twice with mechanical problems and twice crashing. But he still had a mathematical chance of defeating champion-elect Sandro Cortese. At Aragon, Vinales signed to stay two more years with the Avintia Blusens team, moving to Moto2 in 2014. Now he left angry words behind him, describing the team as “second division” and his FTR Honda as too slow and lacking development. He also accused his manager, Ricard Jove (also manager of the Avintia Blusens teams in all three classes) of keeping from him other attractive offers for next year, from the Ajo Red Bull and Aspar teams. He had proposed finishing this season, then not returning, he said, but the team had declined to release him, so he decided to walk out immediately. “If they want to be difficult, then we will be difficult too,” he said. Of his contract until 2014, he told the official MotoGP.com website: “You can sign whatever you want, but when things just get worse and worse, you have to find solutions.” Although only in his second GP year, Vinales has made a huge impact, and is considered the next major Spanish talent after Marquez. Reflecting his status, he was met in Spain by a platoon of TV cameras at the airport, and inter viewed on national TV. Team chief Jove deplored the rider’s words and actions, countering the “second-division” accusation by pointing out that “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.” He denied failing to inform the rider of offers from other teams. But many riders spoke in support, with Rossi and others backing calls for a riders’ organisation to be formed to help protect their interests. MOTOGP >>> NEWS 11 GPWEEK.com // 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: