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Vinales Splits With Crew Chief | MOTOGP | SPORT

It’s partly personal disquiet, partly a reshuffle occasioned by circumstances … but changes are afoot at Yamaha, and they tend to centre on unhappy teamster Maverick Vinales.

In his second year with the factory team, the Spaniard’s results have never really recovered from the slump he ran into in the middle of last season, and his comments to the media have reflected an increasing desire to shift the blame.

One target has been his crew chief Ramon Forcada, a respected figure who performed the same duties for Jorge Lorenzo during his Yamaha years. But growing friction between the Spanish technician and his rider have come to a head over the last few races.

Now news has broken that the pair will definitely split.

Forcada is expected to move to the new Petronas Yamaha satellite team planned for next year, where Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo are on the slate as riders.

Vinales will take over another Spaniard, Esteban Garcia, currently crew chief for Bradley Smith at KTM.

At the same time, Vinales’s rider coach, former 250 GP winner Wilco Zeelenberg, is also set to leave – to manage the new Petronas squad. The team is to take over Jorge “Aspar” Martinez’s Angel Nieto Ducati Team grid slot, and take over from the current Tech 3 satellite team, which is switching to KTM.

In another highly visible change, Tech 3 sponsors Monster will take over title sponsorship of the factory team from Movistar. Moving to KTM with Tech 3 was ruled out because of the Austrian company’s connection with rival energy drink Red Bull.

By Michael Scott