Vinales to miss US MotoGP round due to cousin’s death

Aprilia MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales will sit out this weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas following the death of his cousin in a racing accident last week.

Vinales’ 15-year-old cousin Dean Berta Vinales tragically died following a horror incident during the opening race of the Jerez round of the World Supersport 300 Championship – a feeder category in World Superbikes. 

With not even a week passing since the death of his cousin, nine-time MotoGP race winner Vinales has elected to skip this weekend’s 15th round of the 2021 season in Texas. 

Aprilia says it offers its “unconditional support” in Vinales’ decision not to race. 

A brief statement from the team read: “Maverick Vinales will not be on the starting grid for the GP of the Americas scheduled this weekend on the circuit in Austin, Texas

“Less than a week has passed since the accident involving Dean Berta Vinales, Maverick’s young cousin, which is not enough time to regain the serenity needed to race. 

“Maverick, with the full and unconditional support of Aprilia Racing, has therefore decided to take a break on his journey of getting to know the bike and team from Noale.

“The entire Aprilia Racing family supports this decision and stands with Maverick and his loved ones. 

“There will be other times and other rounds to resume the promising journey begun together. 

“A journey that must be entirely respectful of the people involved and their feelings.”

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Dean Berta Vinales, RIP

Dean Berta Vinales, RIP

Photo by: Dorna

At this stage, it is not known when Vinales will return to action. This weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas would have been the Spaniard’s third official outing with Aprilia, having joined the marque at Aragon following his sudden departure from Yamaha in August. 

He scored points at the San Marino GP in 13th and managed to qualify 10th, showing major signs of progress in adapting to the RS-GP. 

Ahead of last Sunday’s WSBK action at Jerez, a minute of silence was held on the grid for all of the paddock to pay tribute to the late Dean Berta Vinales. 

Tragically, Vinales is the third teenager to have died in 2021 during international motorcycle racing events, with 14-year-old Hugo Milan killed in a crash in a European Talent Cup race at Aragon in July and 19-year-old Moto3 World Championship rider Jason Dupasquier passing away in May after a serious incident at Mugello.

Aprilia has not said if it will field test rider Lorenzo Savadori in Vinales’ place this weekend in America. 

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