There’s talk of a suspension for Vinales in Yamaha’s press release. In other words, his registration has been withdrawn only for the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix, leaving a gap open for the remaining races. But it’s only probably a way to buy some time, because the relationship between Iwata and Maverick now seems to be compromised for good.
Not that Sunday was all sunshine and rainbows. On the contrary, the atmosphere was oppressive. And there was another indication earlier this week, with the announcement of his divorce from Yamaha, even with regard to the family team that races in the Supersport 300 championship. In short, it seemed as if Vinales no longer wanted a trace of blue in his life.
After the Red Bull Ring race, several insiders who were on the track had noticed something strange in Maverick’s behavior, as he revved the engine suspiciously. According to what Yamaha claims, the data had confirmed the he intentionally wanted to break it. All this kind of makes us think that Vinales will unlikely get away with just a race on the bench, so the chances of seeing him again with the official Yamaha team colors seem scarce, to say the least.
This is a big problem for the Iwata manufacturer, which already had to deal with Franco Morbidelli who was absent after knee surgery. At this point, rather than playing with a striker, Yamaha was left with only one rider to rely on to get results, namely, Fabio Quartararo. There’s also Valentino Rossi, of course, but the Doctor is certainly not in the best situation and, by his own admission, he would be satisfied if he manages to stay in the top ten.
So, seeing Vinales sacked is expected, but not seeing him replaced. Something that should be done by regulation at Silverstone, a GP where Morbidelli probably won't be able to return and in which Crutchlow can’t split himself in half. All in all, for Great Britain, Cal could be sent to the factory team and Gerloff could be recuperated, since there's no conjunction with the SBK, but then what'll happen?
Replacing Vinales with Crutchlow until the end of the season is possible, but it would be trying to plug a huge hole with a finger. Even the sponsors of the team would probably turn up their noses, choosing a test rider at the last moment instead of a rider like Maverick who, we have to say, brought home a victory once again this year.
However, after a harsh statement (“Vinales risked putting himself and the other riders in danger”), his relationship will be difficult to mend and Yamaha, which has yet to find two riders for the Petronas team for 2022, would also need another one for 2021.