Why Aprilia is a good bet for Vinales - but won't fix his big problem
The prelude to Maverick Vinales' move to Aprilia has been his tortured exit from Yamaha. But the Spanish rider must put allegations of sabotage, suspensions and unwanted personnel changes aside once he embarks upon his new journey, while Aprilia must find a way to get Vinales firing on all cylinders once again
All hopes of a quiet summer break after a punishing start to the 2021 MotoGP season were dashed on Sunday morning at the Dutch TT. The paddock – virtually and in-person – was sent into a frenzy as reports began emerging that Maverick Vinales was set to quit Yamaha at the end of a so-far troubled 2021 and make his way to Aprilia.
Yamaha was dealt a nightmare hand when the Assen poleman went on to finish second in the race, 2.7 seconds behind teammate Fabio Quartararo. It was a result which meant Vinales absolutely had to face the world's media – there was no hiding him nor holding his tongue.
Surname pressure is something many have had to deal with in their motorsport careers. And while Luca Marini doesn’t have that, his familial relation and the team he rides for in MotoGP have cast a brighter spotlight on his progress. But, as he has shown in 2022 – and as he reveals to Motorsport.com – Marini is so much more than just the brother of a legend.
Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007
After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez.
While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character.
OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title
OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness.
Since Ducati announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini to its factory team for 2023, the staging of the four-time race winner has strained the atmosphere within the Italian manufacturer, which has raised its guard in anticipation of what may happen between him and championship favourite Francesco Bagnaia.
Vinales joins Aprilia for 2022 MotoGP season
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