8. Maverick the Maverick
There was a time when Maverick Viñales was best known as being a racer on Paris Hilton‘s 125cc Grand Prix team. After the jokes died down, it became apparent that Viñales had quite a bit of talent. Viñales’ stock began to rise this season after he won five of the first nine races of the 2012 Moto3 championship.
Things began to sour during the second half of the season between Viñales and the Blusens Avintia team however, leading to Viñales ‘ surprise decision to walk out on his team. The announcement came ahead of the Sepang round. Viñales travelled to Malaysia with the team but was missing from practice.
In a statement on MotoGP.com, Viñales said team did not provide enough in the way of development in the second half, making the team feel, in his words, like a “second division team”.
What Viñales glossed over was the fact this “second division team” helped him sit second overall at the time in the championship with a mathematical shot at overtaking eventual winner Sandro Cortese for the Moto3 title. With a name like “Maverick” this kind of behavior probably shouldn’t have been a surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less dumb.
Soon after his protest Viñales realized he still had two years remaining in his contract with his team, not to mention sponsors who are paying him good money to show up and race. Viñales returned and apologized to his team, his sponsors and to his fans.
Viñales would race the remaining two rounds and finish third overall. His five wins were tied with the champion Cortese for the overall lead while Viñales held a sizeable 92-74 advantage in overall laps led during the entire season. Not bad for a rider on a “second division team”, eh?