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Rossi: Yamaha/Vinales MotoGP situation “a shame for the championship”

On Thursday ahead of this weekend’s 11th round of the 2021 season, Yamaha announced it had suspended Vinales and withdrawn him from the Austrian GP for “irregular operation” of his M1 in the Styrian GP.

Autosport understands that Vinales was deliberately trying to blow up his bike’s engine in the Styrian GP by over-revving it.

Yamaha is yet to make any further public comment since the announcement, while Vinales is also yet to say anything – all of this coming in the wake of Vinales electing to terminate his two-year deal with Yamaha at the end of this season following an irreparable souring of the relationship between both parties.

Rossi, who was Vinales’ factory Yamaha team-mate from 2017 to 2020, hopes both team and rider can reconcile and see out the season together.

“I am very, very sad for this situation, for both sides,” Rossi said when asked by Autosport to comment on his ex-team-mate’s situation.

“Because Maverick is my friend, he is a good guy, and also Yamaha is always my team from a long time.

“So, I think it is a shame, it’s a shame for everything, it’s a shame for the championship and it’s a shame to don’t have Maverick on the track with the Yamaha.

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I think that they can fix the situation in some way because anyway, Maverick is fast, the bike is fast.

“So, I hope they can speak, they can fix the situation and see Maverick on track from the next race.”

Vinales won’t be replaced this weekend and any future appearances are subject to discussion.

The Spaniard’s current team-mate and the championship leader, Fabio Quartararo, said he was “not surprised” by Thursday’s announcement, stating: “Well, I have no proper comments,” Quartararo said.

“I’m not really surprised, I think and I guess many people know what happened.

“And for me it’s no problem to ride alone. It’s difficult to say something, better to ask Yamaha people than myself but for me it won’t change anything on my weekend.”

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Quartararo did admit he was surprised by how dramatically the situation between Vinales and Yamaha has deteriorated, but suggested that it can’t be because of the bike.

“All the bikes can improve in the areas we want to improve, but he won also the first race of the season,” he added.

“He was far back, he overtook, he pulled away. So, the bike is working well and is really consistent.

“So, I don’t know what happened honestly because the bike is great.

“Of course, we are missing a few things but it’s not dramatic, I feel like we have the potential to fight for the podiums, top five at least in the races we can.”

Honda’s Marc Marquez says the “critical situation” between Yamaha and Vinales arriving at the latter’s suspension is “really strange”, but concedes that it’s “not my problem”.

“So, of course as we know the relationship was in a critical situation the last races,” Marquez said.

“But sometimes we see some ups and downs between the rider and manufacturer.

“But to arrive at this point is really strange, it happened sometimes in the past but in the end they know what happened.

“They need to explain well, it’s not my problem. We have enough problems inside our box to pay attention to others.”

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