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Polished and precise. Yamaha Motor Racing's Managing Director Lin Jarvis has a clear and well-defined plan to bring the MotoGP™ World Championship back to Iwata. In an interview with the Italian newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, the MD, also the Team Principal of the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team, gave an interesting insight into the 2021 plans for the Japanese factory.
Yamaha stole headlines at the start of 2020 when they made a string of announcements in the space of just a few days. First, Maverick Viñales signed a two-year extension with the factory squad then it was announced Fabio Quartararo would move from the Petronas Yamaha SRT satelite squad into the full-factory team. At the same time, Valentino Rossi said he would take a few races to work out what he wanted to do in 2021 and it was capped off by the signing of Jorge Lorenzo as Yamaha's new test rider.
Quartararo and Team Manager react to the 2020 Yamaha
"Quartararo's signature for 2021 was secured early because our mission is to compete", said Jarvis on their early movements in the transfer market. "If we compete, we then want to win and we want to do it using the best weapons, whether that be software, hardware, riders or mechanics."
Meanwhile, was securing Viñales' signature slightly more challenging with Ducati sniffing around the multiple Grand Prix winner and former Moto3™ World Champion? "It was not difficult to convince Maverick to stay," said the Englishman. "The important thing was to solidify the plan for him. At the beginning, with the discussions related to Quartararo and Valentino, we could not expose ourselves 100%. But when it happened, he understood how important it was for Yamaha to be the reference, the future. We are happy with the 2021 team: in Quartararo we have the fastest and most talented young man, plus Maverick has many years of experience in MotoGP. It is the strongest duo possible to go hunting for Marquez."
New level, new tech, new Viñales!
The final piece of the puzzle for Yamaha in 2021 now appears to be The Doctor. Over the weekend, the nine-time World Champion declared he wants to continue in MotoGP™ next season and with Yamaha earlier in the year saying a factory bike will always be available to the number 46, where does he fit into Jarvis' future plans?
"It is a topic we are talking about at Yamaha and I expect a deal with him shortly. We are entering a phase in which we must look to the future. His plan was to decide at the end of June or even earlier, after five or six races. Now, Vale will have to decide if he wants to move forward and then together we will have to find a way to do it. It will happen before he starts riding again, I'm sure."
Watch Rossi's pre-season press conference in full
"He will only run if he still feels competitive. My wish is that he will continue because ending his career like this, with less races and without spectators, would not be fair for a Champion like him. And it would also apply to our sport: we will need to start again with confidence, with people in the stands, and Vale on track is something that we will need."
Whilst we wait to see the Yamaha challengers back on track again, you can see Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 2021 teammates Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo going to head-to-head in Sunday's Red Bull Virtual Grand Prix of Spain.
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