Yamaha has prevented Maverick Vinales from responding to the claims of his MotoGP crew chief Ramon Forcada that the rider had not informed him of their impending split.
Vinales told the media on Friday at Brno that he will end his relationship with Forcada at the conclusion of the season, with Esteban Garcia set to take his place next year.
Forcada then said in an interview with Movistar that he had only learned of Vinales’ decision from Yamaha and claimed the Spaniard did not “say a single word” to him.
He also suggested that this weekend’s Czech Grand Prix could be their last race together.
Vinales’ post-qualifying media debrief was delayed by around 20 minutes while he spoke with Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis, and when he finally emerged the assembled journalists were warned that he would refuse to answer any question “unrelated to today’s on-track activity”.
It comes at a difficult moment for Yamaha, which has gone more than a year since its last MotoGP victory, with those responsible for managing the situation appearing to be confused about how to solve its problems.
Forcada’s controversial interview was given to Movistar, which is Yamaha’s current title sponsor, but is being replaced by Monster Energy in 2019.
Valentino Rossi passed comment on the situation while addressing Italian media on Saturday, after qualifying second behind Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
“I don’t know so much about it,” he said. “[But] it’s difficult to create a good atmosphere when you are going to split at the end of the season.
“Both Vinales and Forcada are professionals, Ramon has been working here for the last 30 years, so I think they will try the maximum until the end of the season.”
Jorge Lorenzo, who worked alongside Forcada during his title-winning years at Yamaha, added: “I’m sad for him, because he’s a great technician.
“We won many championships together, he has a lot of experience, [and is] especially very good on suspension. I just hope for the best and he can find another team.”
Forcada is likely to stay within the Yamaha fold next year as crew chief to Franco Morbidelli at the new SIC Yamaha team that joins the grid for 2019.