Maverick Vinales seems to be living up to his name, announcing he is leaving the Blusens Avintia team despite sitting second in the Moto3 World Championship with three rounds to go. Vinales traveled with the team to Sepang for the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix but did not take part in Free Practice and later announced the split.
You may remember Vinales from last season when he raced in the former 125cc Grand Prix World Championship for the Paris Hilton-sponsored Blusens-BQR team. While the notorious socialite team owner created headlines, Vinales proved himself to be a rising star, winning four races and finishing third overall in the championship.
This year, he has been even better, winning five races on Blusen’s FTR Honda racebike (#25 above) and trailing KTM‘s Sandro Cortese (#11) by 56 points. Cortese’s lead is daunting but not insurmountable with three races and a potential 75 points up for grabs, so Vinales’ sudden departure points to some serious issues with the team.
In an interview on MotoGP’s official website, Vinales says the team did not provide upgrades through the season to remain competitive. Vinales says he planned to leave the team at the end of the season anyway, but after the team failed to provide the promised improvements, he made the decision to quit.
“Since halfway through the season, they haven’t done all they could, I’m always giving my best – so I wanted to leave the team after those last three races and have a “clean” break-up, but they wouldn’t agree so today I’m heading home,” says Vinales. “It’s not that much about the support, but I think it’s a second division team – I have to try and win the Championship next year and I don’t think I could do it with this team, so that’s why I took this decision.”
Ricard Jové, team manager of the Blusens Avintia team naturally disagrees with Vinales about the team being “second division”, pointing out what the team has achieved. Vinales’ five wins leads all Moto3 riders.
“He first told us last night that he did not want to continue until the end of the season because he was unhappy with the bike, and we at first thought it was just him saying something like any other rider,” Jové tells MotoGP.com. “Well, in the end he didn’t turn up and we don’t take this behavior very well, because in the end we are second in the championship, have taken five wins, seven podiums and have had a worthy season. It does not make any kind of sense to not at least finish the championship – about this I cannot say any more – but it was the rider who ultimately decided not to get on the bike.”
Complicating matters is Jové is also Vinales’ team manager. Spanish site Marca reports other teams made offers to Vinales for next season but that he was never told of his options before signing a contract extension with Blusens.