Vinales apologises to Yamaha, blaming 'explosion of emotion'

Spielberg bei Knittelfeld (Austria) (AFP) –


Spaniard Maverick Vinales apologised on Saturday after being suspended from this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix by Yamaha on suspicion of attempting to damage his bike at last week's Styrian GP.

Vinales stalled when last Sunday's race restarted after a crash and had dropped to last when he pulled into the pits on the final lap.

Yamaha said on Thursday they had suspended him for the way he treated the bike late in the race.

The Spaniard had reported a litany of technical problems during the race.

"At the end everything was about frustration, also a lot of nerves," Vinales told the official MotoGP website on Saturday.

"I ride the bike in a different way in the last laps. It was a big explosion of emotion and frustration."

"I want to apologise to Yamaha," he said at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, site of the last week's and this week's races.

"I feel very sad," said the 26-year-old. "I have a warrior soul. I want to be there on the track fighting."

"I am still a Yamaha rider and I respect their decision," he added.

Vinales and Yamaha had announced in late June that they would be ending their contract a year early, at the end of 2021.

He was expected to move to Aprilia in 2022.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the team explained "the suspension of the rider by Yamaha due to the unexplained irregular operation of the motorcycle by the rider during the Styria MotoGP race."

"Yamaha's decision follows an in-depth analysis of telemetry and data over the last days.

"Yamaha's conclusion is that the rider's actions could have potentially caused significant damage to the engine of his YZR-M1 bike which could have caused serious risks to the rider himself and possibly posed a danger to all other riders in the MotoGP race," they added.

Vinales was not replaced for the race where Yamaha's other factory rider, Fabio Quartararo, the championship leader, took second spot on the grid on Saturday.

Vinales won the season-opening race in Qatar but has had only one other podium finish since.

A decision is awaited from the Japanese manufacturer regarding the rider's participation in the final races of the season.

This is not the first time Vinales has experienced a rift with one of his teams. In October 2012, while riding in Moto3, the Spaniard said he would not to finish the season with Blusens Avintia and walked out before the first free practice of the Malaysian GP but returned in the next race to finish the season.