The prodigal son has returned, as Maverick Vinales has apologized to the two-wheeled world to regain his Moto3 ride with Avintia Bluesens this weekend at Phillip Island.
Vinales shocked the MotoGP paddock by walking out on the Avintia team before practice started last Friday at Sepang. He was second in the points behind Sandro Cortese at the event, falling to third behind Luis Salom after skipping the race.
The Spaniard recently signed a contract extension through the 2014 team with Avintia, which is managed by Vinales' personal manager, Ricard Jove. Vinales reportedly bolted because he was unhappy with the team's effort since his last victory, in July at Mugello, and because Jove reportedly never informed him of contract offers from the Aspar and Aki Ajo teams before he re-signed with Avintia.
But Vinales listened to his lawyer and started to mend fences with his team - which he called "second division" last week at Sepang - by issuing this statement:
"Firstly I would like to publicly give my sincerely apologies to those that were harmed or affected by my behavior in Sepang. I'm here to come forward, ask for forgiveness and take responsibility for my mistakes. I have returned to continue fighting with my Blusens Avintia team for the runner-up spot in the championship. There are many people who deserve it. Sponsors, technicians and the fans.
"My hasty departure from the Malaysian GP was certainly not good. But with the tension generated by my position in the team, I fell into a state of anger and frustration that was certainly not an ideal state of mind to ride a bike in - especially ride it at the limit.
"I made a mistake, because although I was not mentally prepared to ride the bike, I should not have left the Sepang circuit, or make such statements. And so, I apologize for the harm that has been accidentally caused, to all the fans, to the members of my Blusens Avintia team, to FTR, Honda, the championship promoters, and especially the sponsors of team (Blusens, Avintia, Repsol, Pacha and other partner companies) and personal sponsors (Alpinestars, Airoh, Wild Wolf, J. Costa etc.) that have both supported us, and without which I would not have achieved the successes to date.
"I return with the aim to finish the season and regain second place in the overall standings, and for that, I will focus solely on sporting issues and work with my technicians to find the best setup of the bike.
"Finally, I want to express my strong desire to amicably resolve all the problems with the team, and to be able to concentrate on riding, which is what I really like."
We were all 17 and headstrong once. But still one wonders what kind of welcome wagon the Avintia mechanics will roll out for Vinales this weekend at Phillip Island.