According to multiple sources, MotoGP front runner Maverick Vinales is leaving Yamaha at the close of the season with a switch to Aprilia on the cards.
This news changes the game in the MotoGP world. Spanish media have said the Spaniard has terminated his Yamaha contract, being unhappy with how he’s been treated. Rumors since have exploded wondering both where the 9-time race winner will end up, and who would replace him.
According to The Race, it’s possible Vinales could switch to Aprilia in 2022, which would likely deny Andrea Dovizioso a MotoGP return. The only other opportunities for Vinales lie in VR46 and Tech3, both of whom are quickly zeroing in on their 2022 riders.
Yamaha would most likely replace the void left by Vinales with 2020 runner up Franco Morbidelli, which would mean Petronas SRT would be without a rider given the likely retirement of Valentino Rossi.
The rumors have not been officially confirmed nor denied by Yamaha or Vinales, though tensions have been high for weeks. Vinales did say after the Dutch Grand Prix that leaving Yamaha “is an option”, though refused to comment any more on the matter. This article will be updated with further information as it becomes available.
UPD: It has been confirmed on Monday that Vinales will leave Yamaha at the conclusion of the 2021 MotoGP season.