Vinales says leaving Yamaha "an option" but denies Aprilia links

Maverick Vinales has denied links to Aprilia for the 2022 MotoGP season, but admits leaving Yamaha “is an option”.

Vinales has been at the centre of a silly season bombshell this weekend at the Dutch Grand Prix after news emerged from the paddock that he could be leaving Yamaha at the end of the season and joining Aprilia for 2022.

The Spaniard does have a contract with Yamaha that runs to the end of 2022, signed at the beginning of last year, but the relationship between both parties has soured this season.

Motorsport.com reported on Saturday that the deal for Vinales to quit Yamaha and to join Aprilia was not yet done as of Sunday, but both Yamaha and Vinales are looking for an amicable exit from their contract.

After suffering his worst-ever MotoGP weekend in Germany last week, where he qualified 21st and finished the race last, Vinales said Yamaha’s response to his troubles this year seemed disrespectful.

After finishing 2.7 seconds behind teammate Fabio Quartararo in Sunday’s Assen race in second, Vinales denied his Aprilia links but admits he’s been thinking about leaving Yamaha since the start of the season.

"No it's not true," he said when asked by DAZN if he was going to Aprilia.

"Now, for the moment we go to the summer break and we'll see.

“Of course it's an option [leaving Yamaha], I'm thinking about it since the beginning of the season, because I'm not able to show my full potential [with the Yamaha], I can't tell you more.”

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Vinales dropped from pole to fifth at the start after encountering an issue with his clutch and “had nothing more” to catch Quartararo once he’d worked his way up to second again on lap 15.

"At the start, I don't know why the clutch was burnt, then it was impossible to pass [Takaaki] Nakagami,” he added.

“Then I had nothing more at the end to catch Fabio.

“It wasn't a bad race, the only thing was that behind people the front tyre went flat, but that's not an excuse.

"I went out with the soft tyre at the front because I knew I had a very good pace for the second half of the race, I thought I could do a bit more, but the truth is that I didn't have what I had yesterday.

"We couldn't finish, it was a good weekend, but passing Nakagami and Pecco [Bagnaia] was difficult, especially Taka, I was losing half a second behind him.

"The start penalised me, but on the straight I couldn't gain position. It's important to go home with a podium.”

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