Maverick Vinales sensationally walked out on his Avintia Blusens squad on the eve of the Malaysian Grand Prix, surrendering slim hopes that he could capture the inaugural Moto3 world title.
The Spaniard only recently signed a new two-year deal with the squad at the Motorland Aragon but he announced he had left the team having not appeared in this morning’s opening practice session at a hot and humid Sepang.
Vinales was a strong pre-season favourite to win the Moto3 crown on an FTR-Honda machine and he has won more races than any other rider with five victories to date.
He would have started the Sepang race on Sunday trailing championship leader Sandro Cortese by 56-points, so he still had a mathematical chance of winning the title.
Paddock rumour has suggested that Vinales was unhappy with the support from his team and the performance of the FTR-Honda. Speculation has also pointed to him being angry that he wasn’t informed of other 2013 offers before he committed to the Avintia Blusens deal.
Speaking to the official MotoGP website earlier, Vinales branded his squad a ‘second division team’ and he said: “We won't take part in the race as the team hasn't complied with the agreement we had. You can sign whatever you want, but when things just get worse and worse, you have to find solutions.
Since halfway through the season, they haven't done all they could, I'm always giving my best - so I wanted to leave the team after those last three races and have a "clean" break-up, but they wouldn't agree so today I'm heading home. I would have raced until the end of the season if they agreed to release me at the end of the year. It's not that much about the support, but I think it's a second division team. I have to try and win the championship next year and I don't think I could do it with this team, so that's why I took this decision.”