Spanish wunderkind Maverick Vinales has sensationally split with his Blusens Avintia Moto3 squad before turning a wheel at the Sepang MotoGP round and says he won't race in the remaining three meetings of the year.
The youngster still has a mathematical chance of swiping the title from under Sandro Cortese's nose but he says problems with the team mean he cannot continue. This leaves the German with a free run to the trophy on Sunday.
We won't take part in the race as the team hasn't complied with the agreement we had. 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," said Vinales.
"It's always better to finish in a good way but if they want to be difficult then we will be difficult too. 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."
Team manager Ricard Jove replied: “He first told us last night that he did not want to continue until the end of the season because he was unhappy with the bike, and we at first thought it was just him saying something like any other rider… well, in the end he didn’t turn up and we don’t take this behaviour very well, because in the end we are second in the championship, have taken five wins, seven podiums and have had a worthy season. It does not make any kind of sense to not at least finish the championship - about this I cannot say any more - but it was the rider who ultimately decided not to get on the bike.
“This works in reverse as well as you have a contract - you work, do the season, and then we can discuss, away from the media limelight, if we terminate the deal. But now, you can’t stop from one day to the next as you have commitments with the sponsors, with the mechanics, the years spent with the team in his career. We should not be nothing to him; it has been a pleasure to work together but today it is clear that before reaching that point you have to first finish your work and then discuss other points."