Maverick Vinales insists he didn’t ask for the surprise crew chief move between the Mugello and Catalunya MotoGPs.
However, he trusts Yamaha’s decision to replace Esteban Garcia with Silvano Galbusera in order to get the most out of a motorcycle that will lead the world championship in the hands of teammate Fabio Quartararo.
“To be honest, I didn’t ask [for it]Said Vinales. “I’ll just keep doing that. I have to get the maximum out of every race. It was far from getting the most out of the last few races. So I didn’t ask [but] I’m going for it. “
The Spaniard, who won the season opener in Qatar but hasn’t finished seventh since arriving in Europe, said: “Basically, I haven’t felt well in 3 or 4 races, I haven’t felt the maximum potential.
“So I talked to Yamaha a lot and Yamaha decided to counter that with a different strategy, namely to change the crew chief. And I believe in Yamaha.
“To be honest, I have a very good relationship with Esteban and I have great faith in him, but Yamaha always tries to give me the best they can, so we’ll see.
On the subject of matching items
“Silvano certainly has a lot of experience and has always been with Valentino for many years, which is good because Valentino was very successful. And we will try to give the maximum.
“Anyway, I think Esteban and Yamaha got them right away [conclusion]and eventually that change was made faster than they expected. “
It’s the second time Vinales has changed crew chief since joining Yamaha from Suzuki in 2017 after parting ways with Roman Forcada (now Franco Morbidelli’s crew chief at Petronas Yamaha) in late 2018.
On the subject of matching items
Forcada’s split was presented as a joint team decision, although the central relationship between the driver and crew chief means that the team often feels like they have no choice when a star driver wants a change.
“I think it’s a whole different story [to Forcada]”said Vinales.” I think Yamaha tried to come up with a different strategy because sometimes it was difficult for me to find a good attitude on the bike and a good balance and in the last four races I have been in FP1 very quickly and then went backwards all weekend.
“Yamaha just wants to give me the best and try to give me the maximum. I think that’s why they forced this change.”
“I honestly never had excuses. I only have facts,” he insisted. “And the facts are that if the bike works and I can get the most out of it and get the most out of it, I can win the race.
“So that’s the fact that we have our teammate who wins every race and we’re in the top 10. So something is not working.
“I started quickly in Mugello FP1, I felt good and then, step by step, I got worse and worse.
“All I can say is that Yamaha reacted quickly, very unexpectedly for me, and I trust the team very much. So I’ll trust this change and so I’ll trust.”
“Because in the end the level is clear, the bike is fantastic and we can’t miss this opportunity because you don’t have a fantastic bike every year.”
Even so, Vinales said that given his personal friendship with Garcia, it wasn’t an easy step to take him to the Moto3 title in 2013 and to have four of his eight MotoGP class wins by his side.
“Before my crew chief, he was my friend,” said Vinales. “And we have a very good relationship, I was often at his house, I know his wife and daughter very well, and our relationship will certainly continue even if he is not my crew chief, because he is more than just that a crew chief, like I said, he’s one of my friends and this change hurts me too, you know what I mean?
“But on the other hand, I understand very well that we have to get the most out of it. We have our team-mate who wins and we are in the top 10 and we certainly show a very high potential sometimes and what Yamaha and to do is to me to bring that potential and that’s what we need to do.
“Basically we have to concentrate, find a good balance with the bike because it was a bit far in the last few races, and keep working. Because we know we can. And somehow it was pretty unexpected and fast for me, but Yamaha want to give the maximum. “
Garcia’s loss is Galbusera’s gain with the veteran Italian, who was replaced as Yamaha crew chief by Valentino Rossi in late 2019 and returned to the front lines after joining the Yamaha test team.
“First of all, I’m really happy for Silvano, because he certainly enjoys working as chief mechanic because it was always his real job,” said Rossi on Thursday in Catalunya.
“Silvano knows the M1 very well, but above all knows the atmosphere in the team very well. He is very knowledgeable [team director] Maio Meregalli. He’s always been a Yamaha guy, Yamaha Italy is headquartered near Monza and I think Silvano worked there for 25-30 years. So before the MotoGP team was born. He knows everything very well and I think he can do a lot to help Maverick improve from that point of view. “
Jack Miller: It’s the heart and soul of your team
Also on Thursday, Ducati’s Jack Miller, the only rider other than Quartararo and Vinales to win a race this year, spoke of a mid-season crew chief change as a “big deal”.
“It’s changing a bit; it’s the heart and soul of your team right there,” he said. “At the end of the day it is [Vinales’] Decision … if he didn’t feel it, then it was his decision and you have to respect that.
“It’s hard for me to switch like that in the middle of the season, but maybe that’s what he needs and his strength for him. It’s a big deal.”
Vinales starts sixth in the World Championship this weekend, 41 points behind Quartararo, who has won half of the six races so far this season.