Maverick Viñales looks set to complete his surprise switch to Aprilia after Yamaha announced it had agreed to mutually terminate his contract.
Following the conclusion of the 2021 MotoGP season, both parties will part ways leaving the Spaniard free to join up with Aleix Espargaró at the Italian marque.
Rumours started swirling this past weekend at the Dutch TT in Assen that Viñales could be leaning towards leaving Yamaha in favour of Aprilia for 2022.
Earlier this season, Andrea Dovizioso was linked with the currently vacant Aprilia seat for 2022 having signed up to complete several tests with the team throughout 2021.
Yamaha team manager Lin Jarvis was frank in his assessment of the Spaniard’s time with the team, highlighting Viñales’ struggles and admitted both parties wanted to go in a new direction for next season.
“It is with sadness that we will say farewell to Maverick at the end of the year. We are in the middle of our fifth season together and over the years we have achieved many highs but also had to manage many lows,” Jarvis said of the announcement.
“After the German GP, which was the most difficult weekend of our partnership, we had important discussions in Assen and came to the conclusion that it would be in the interest of both parties to go our separate ways in the future.
“Yamaha will put in their maximum effort – as we always have done – to give full support to Maverick and finish this season in the very best way possible.”
Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola admitted during Sunday’s race that the team would love to sign Viñales should he find a way out of his Yamaha deal early.
Viñales kept his cards close to his chest after finishing on the podium in second to current team-mate Fabio Quartararo, saying the rumours about a potential switch were not on his mind.
Less than 24 hours later, his move to Aprilia looks to be a matter of when an announcement is made rather than if.
“This partnership has been very significant to me over the last five years, and it proved a difficult decision to part ways,” Viñales said.
“In these seasons together, we experienced both great achievements and tough times. However, the underlying feeling is of mutual respect and appreciation.
“I am fully committed and will strive to achieve the best results for the rest of the season.”