Maverick Viñales’ lackluster 2021 season has caused another casualty. Today, Yamaha announced that his crew chief Esteban Garcia would be leaving his role with immediate effect, to be replaced by Silvano Galbusera.
Galbusera was the easy choice, as the Italian veteran is already involved with Yamaha as the crew chief working in the test team, working with Cal Crutchlow to help develop the YZR-M1.
The change has perhaps been predictable. Viñales has been making veiled comments about his team making the wrong decisions during the weekend.
After last Sunday’s race at Mugello, Viñales criticized the decision to stick with the medium front tire instead of switching to the soft, with which the Spaniard had had a much better feeling on Friday.
“I just went to the medium [front], and then the problems started,” Viñales had said on Sunday afternoon. “So I don’t know why we didn’t try the soft front. So I think we didn’t pay enough attention to that, because then in FP1, the first laps, I felt fantastic.”
Dropping Esteban Garcia is a remarkable move by Maverick Viñales. Garcia was the crew chief with whom Viñales won his Moto3 title in 2013, and had come to MotoGP at the request of Viñales to replace the experienced veteran Ramon Forcada for the start of the 2019 season.
Forcada switched to the Petronas Yamaha SRT team where he is crew chief for Franco Morbidelli, and he helped Morbidelli to a second place in the COVID-19-stricken 2020 MotoGP championship.
Garcia’s replacement, Silvano Galbusera, is no stranger to the factory Yamaha team.
Galbusera was crew chief to Valentino Rossi for five years, coming in to replace Jeremy Burgess after Rossi sacked Burgess at the end of the 2013 season, then making way for Rossi’s current crew chief, David Muñoz, at the start of 2019.
Viñales gets another chance to make progress at Barcelona, one of his favorite tracks, and a circuit where he has been fast in the past. The Spaniard will be working with Galbusera at Barcelona from the start of FP1 on Friday.
Source: Monster Yamaha