The future of Maverick Viñales has at last been settled. Today, on the eve of a test aboard a KTM Moto3 machine at the Almeria circuit, Pablo Nieto, manager of the JHK T-Shirt Laglisse team, announced that the young Spanish sensation has signed to race for the team in 2013. The deal will see Viñales race a factory-spec KTM Moto3 bike next season, with the team that fielded Efren Vazquez and Hector Faubel in 2012.
The new deal for Viñales took a long time to sort out. The Spanish youngster had already signed a deal with the Avintia Blusens team for 2013 and 2014, the team he was racing with in 2012, before staging a dramatic walk out prior to the Sepang round in mid-October, in a dispute over the speed of the FTR Honda and the competence of the team. Though Viñales returned a week later for the Phillip Island round, he then focused all his efforts on finding another team able to buy him out of his contract and provide him with a sufficiently fast KTM.
Just buying him out of his contract was hard enough. According to Spanish sources, such as the extremely well-informed Motociclismo, the cost of buying off his contract was close to half a million euros. One team that had been interested in Viñales was the Marc VDS Racing team, who will be running the young Belgian and former Red Bull Rookie Livio Loi in 2013. Marc VDS had a second Kalex KTM machine to offer to Viñales, but the Spaniard was only interested in riding a factory-backed KTM machine, not the version with the Kalex chassis.
Though the final details remain to be hammered out - Viñales is still formally under contract with the Blusens squad - the Spaniard will be testing at Almeria from Tuesday. Alongside him will be his teammate for next year, Spanish teenager Ana Carrasco, set to become the first female Moto3 rider. Carrasco turns 16 in March, and has been racing for the team in the Spanish CEV championship this year, her best result a 7th place at Jerez. The Blusens team is also testing at Almeria tomorrow, with Toni Elias and Kyle Smith set to continue work on the Moto2 program for 2013.