Every rollercoaster ride has to come to an end, and Maverick Viñales’ time with Yamaha in MotoGP is no different. On August 12, 2021, at the start of the MotoGP Austrian round weekend, Yamaha officially announced that they were suspending Viñales immediately. The team alleged that the racer purposely sought to blow up his engine at the Styrian GP just one week prior.
On August 14, Viñales formally apologized to Yamaha in a public media appearance. He said he was really frustrated after the Styrian GP had been red-flagged on lap three, because he’d been riding pretty well prior to the red flag. Afterward, things went downhill.
As the man himself said, “Then it all went wrong and there was an explosion inside me that I couldn't channel properly. I apologize to Yamaha, because I rode in the wrong way in the last laps, so I want to apologize to everybody.”
That was last week, though. On August 16, 2021, the Aprilia MotoGP team formally announced that it had signed Viñales to its roster for 2022. The move had long been rumored up and down the MotoGP paddock, especially since the announcement of Franco Morbidelli officially moving up to the Yamaha MotoGP team for the 2022 season. Not all MotoGP rumors are always true, of course—but this one turned out to be accurate.
"We are extremely happy to announce that we have signed Maverick Viñales, a very high-level rider and one of the purest talents in the premier category,” Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola said in a statement.
“Our project has now been enriched with the value that Maverick brings - a World Champion who has confirmed his talent as a top rider in MotoGP - at a time of great change, after bringing a completely revamped bike to the track and having consistently established ourselves in the group of protagonists, we are also facing a switch in status as a Factory Team now, in order to take Aprilia to success,” he continued.
“We are honored to be able to make all of our best skills available to Viñales along with our enthusiasm and our passion. I am confident that, like Aleix [Espargaro, who will be reuniting with his former teammate Viñales for Aprilia MotoGP in 2022] , he will embrace this extremely high-potential project. The arrival of Maverick in no way distances Lorenzo Savadori from the team, as he will remain an integral part of the Aprilia Racing family,” Rivola’s statement concluded.