The Vinales affair.
“I am a warrior.” This was the most poignant remark in Maverick Vinales’s chastened (you might say “grovelling”) apology to Yamaha, banished to the sidelines of the Austrian GP, after his controversial attempt to blow up his bike the week before.
He splurged on humble pie, apologizing about how his emotion got the better of him, in a difficult afternoon. He’d started strongly in the race, only for it to be red-flagged after just three laps. The restart was one disaster after another. Stalling on the grid before the warm-up lap meant a back-of-the-grid start. He’d made up a few places only then to suffer a long-lap penalty for straying over track limits: very easily done at the Red Bull Ring. Back in last place, his frustration boiled over.
His humble apologies, coming as they did after the most difficult of seasons so far, were not enough to save his job at the team for which he has claimed eight wins in four-and-a-bit years. Finishing the Styrian GP in the pits brought to an end his last ride on a factory Yamaha.
Another twist in an extraordinary saga.
Extraordinary because of this ex- Moto3 champion and multiple GP winner’s wildly variable results this year –he finished first at Doha, ran pole-to-second at Assen, but came plumb last in Germany and Styria.
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