A contrite Maverick Vinales has returned to the Blusens Avintia Moto3 team days after his brash, and admittedly hasty departure at this past weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
The FTR Honda rider quit the Blusens team on Oct. 10, returning home from Sepang without once hitting the track. At the time, Vinales accused the team of failing to provide technical improvements to remain competitive, even though he was second overall in the Moto3 championship going into Malaysia with more wins than anyone else in the series.
But with two more years to go on his contract and no doubt his lawyers explaining the consequences of breaching a contract, Vinales will race at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island for the Blusens Avintia team. Vinales issued a statement on MotoGP’s official website apologizing to his team, his sponsors, his technicians and racing fans.
Going into Sepang, Vinales had a slim chance of winning the Moto3 title, trailing KTM‘s Sandro Cortese by 56 points. With his win in Malaysia, Cortese has sewn up the Moto3 title, so Vinales is left to battle for second overall with Kalex KTM rider Luis Salom whose fourth-place finish at Sepang vaulted him past Vinales for second with two rounds to go.
Though he is back with the team and will finish the season, Vinales will face some long-term consequences for his decisions. Vinales will likely try to negotiate a release from the two years remaining on his contract (his team will likely prefer a rider who wants to be there) but his decision to quit may affect his relationship with his current, and any prospective sponsors as well.
Here is the text of Vinales’ apology:
Firstly I would like to publically give my sincerely apologies to those that were harmed or affected by my behaviour in Sepang. I’m here to come forward, ask for forgiveness and take responsibility for my mistakes. I have returned to continue fighting with my Blusens Avintia team for the runner-up spot in the championship. There are many people who deserve it. Sponsors, technicians and the fans.
My hasty departure from the Malaysian GP was certainly not good. But with the tension generated by my position in the team, I fell into a state of anger and frustration that was certainly not an ideal state of mind to ride a bike in – especially ride it at the limit.
I made a mistake, because although I was not mentally prepared to ride the bike, I should not have left the Sepang circuit, or make such statements. And so, I apologize for the harm that has been accidentally caused, to all the fans, to the members of my Blusens Avintia team, to FTR, Honda, the championship promoters, and especially the sponsors of team (Blusens, Avintia, Repsol, Pacha and other partner companies) and personal sponsors (Alpinestars, Airoh, Wild Wolf, J. Costa etc.) that have both supported us, and without which I would not have achieved the successes to date.
I return with the aim to finish the season and regain second place in the overall standings, and for that, I will focus solely on sporting issues and work with my technicians to find the best set-up of the bike.
Finally, I want to express my strong desire to amicably resolve all the problems with the team, and to be able to concentrate on riding, which is what I really like.