MotoGP rider Vinales slams Supersport 300 class after latest death

The 22-year-old was involved in a multi-rider incident during last weekend’s Supersport 300 race at Portimao as part of the World Superbike assistance programme.

Steeman suffered serious head injuries which he tragically succumbed to on Tuesday.

He is the second rider in the space of a year to be killed in the Supersport 300 class, after Dean Berta Vinales – cousin of Maverick – lost his life in a similar incident at Jerez in 2021.

The death of Dean Berta Vinales ushered in new age limit and grid count rules for smaller capacity bike categories like Moto3 and Supersport 300.

Insight: Motorcycle racing’s steps to a safer future

But Maverick Vinales thinks the biggest problem right now is the Supersport 300 bike itself, which he says is too heavy and not powerful enough, meaning pack racing is all too common.

“I always had the same opinion on the Supersport 300, and I said it before Dean [had his accident] and this type of category with 160 kilo bikes that can go 140 mph max in a straight line is useless for a rider,” Vinales began when asked what to do after another fatal Supersport incident. 300.

“You don’t learn anything. The talented guys are involved in a situation where if you have a bike that’s two km/h faster, you win the race. There’s no talent there.

“I remember when I was a kid when I had to ride in 125GP, there you were good and it was impossible to win or follow the good ones.

Vinales lost his cousin Dean Berta Vinales in a Supersport 300 crash in 2021

Photo by: Gold and Goose/Motorsport Images

“I remember coming here at the world championship, the first time following the good guys I raised. So, I learned a lesson.

“You have to work. But at the moment, also Moto3 – yes, you see some [good] riders. But they go together [in races]it wasn’t like that in the past.

“The talent was more than whether the bike was a bit faster or slower. And for me the problem with Supersport 300 is that the bikes are 160 kilos, they have no speed, they go together and of course if someone falls in front of you it’s impossible to escape or something like that.

“For me it’s not about age, it’s not about riders, it’s about bikes. They don’t have power, weight like a MotoGP bike, brakes are crap, the swing arm of the street.

“The problem is the category, not the riders. It’s not age, because when I was 13 I did 125 GPs and nothing happened because there weren’t 20 of us in the same peloton. There were only four, three, no more because it was difficult.

Vinales added that he had tried riding the Supersport 300 bike before and revealed that he told his family it was not a class his cousin Dean should have raced in.

“I tried the 300, it’s a very easy bike, we can go together [in a pack]there is no electricity,” he said.

“You can be a driver who’s two seconds slower [than the best]if you can follow then you can go with the first one [guys]. So basically that’s about it.

“Of course at the time I said to my family ‘I think this category is not good for Dean, it’s not good that he’s riding here’.

“But in the end, things turn out like this. But of course if it continues a lot more things are going to happen because in this category – like I said – there’s too much weight on the bike, no power so they all go together, the bikes are not not even race bikes. That’s the biggest problem, I think.

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