MotoGP

Vinales needed ‘more trust’ than previous MotoGP crew chief offered

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Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales says his new crew chief Esteban Garcia will offer “more trust” than his predecessor Ramon Forcada.

Vinales and Forcada worked together in 2017 and ’18 after Vinales replaced three-time champion Jorge Lorenzo at the works Yamaha squad, but split acrimoniously at the end of last season after a public spat in the summer.

Forcada has joined the new Petronas SRT satellite Yamaha outfit for 2019 and has been replaced by Garcia – who was crew chief to Bradley Smith at KTM and previously worked with Vinales in Moto3.

Speaking at the launch of Yamaha’s 2019 MotoGP programme, Vinales said Forcada’s exit was “difficult” because he offered a wealth of experience, but added he needed someone he could work more closely with.

“I hope it really helps,” said Vinales. “I think Esteban will be the key to make me stay calm, then I can give my best.

“From a technical point of view, it’s difficult to find someone better than Ramon.

“He stayed in Yamaha for so long, so it is very difficult, but I was looking something more – more, let’s say, trust, [someone I can be] more close, sincere with.

“Esteban is a completely different character to Ramon, I will [work] much better.

“I feel much more confidence with Esteban on the team.”

Garcia began working in his new capacity in post-season testing at Jerez, while another new crew member – 2009 125cc champion Julian Simon – joined Vinales’ camp, taking over as Yamaha’s rider performance analyst.

Vinales has won four races in his two seasons at Yamaha, but failed to mount a title challenge in either campaign.

His and Forcada’s fall-out was well-documented and Vinales, who at one point last season was forbidden by Yamaha from discussing the topic with the media, later admitted he was not happy with how the matter had been handled.

Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis said he hoped the additions of Garcia and Simon would lend stability to Vinales’ side of the garage.

“I believe these two new people, two new Spaniards in Maverick’s team, will help solidify that group and bring a renewed group feeling to Maverick’s side,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis also confirmed Idalio Gavira will serve as Vinales’ team-mate Valentino Rossi’s rider performance analyst.

European Superbike champion Gavira initially took up the role for the Jerez test, following the departure of Luca Cadalora after three seasons alongside Rossi.

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