MotoGP rider Vinales signs for Aprilia

Paris (AFP) –


Spanish MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales, who was suspended by his Yamaha team last week, has signed to ride for Aprilia in 2022, the Italian team announced on Monday.

Vinales, 26, who was Moto3 world champion in 2013, has signed an annual contract with an option for renewal and will line up alongside compatriot Aleix Espargaro next season.

The arrival of Vinales marks another major step in Aprilia's route to becoming a full factory team.

“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," said Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola.

"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."

Vinales has taken nine wins in MotoGP, 13 pole positions and 28 podium finishes and has twice finished third in the championship.

The Spaniard, who won the season-opener in Qatar, was suspended last week by his current Yamaha team from the Austrian Grand Prix on suspicion of attempting to damage his bike at the Styrian GP a week earlier.

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

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

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

Vinales was not replaced for the Austrian GP where Yamaha's other factory rider, Fabio Quartararo, the championship leader, finished seventh.