Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team means business. With contracts for most riders ending at the end of the 2020 season, the rider market is bubbling with endless discussions about who is riding where beyond this season. But the Iwata factory have made a statement of intent: Maverick Viñales, Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Lorenzo have put pen to paper with the factory setup before February.
In this day and age, teams and riders have no time to mess about when choosing their destiny beyond the 2020 season. Nailing down Viñales - Yamaha’s only race winner in the last two seasons and a rider who has been strongly linked to Ducati – was the first sign Yamaha have wasted no time. A day later, 2019 Rookie of the Year and the man in demand Quartararo was confirmed to be Viñales’ teammate in 2021 and 2022. Then, on 30 January, the return of Lorenzo. The five-time World Champion and Yamaha reuniting, the Spaniard becoming a test rider for – at least – the 2020 season.
That’s three huge names cementing their futures with Yamaha. A Viñales-Quartararo lineup is a mouth-watering prospect, and a fit and healthy Lorenzo testing – and potentially wildcarding – on a Yamaha, a bike he won three premier class titles on? Yes please.
Now it’s the turn of the other factories to follow suit. Two of MotoGP™’s most wanted are now off the market, so who will Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia turn to now? Will they stick or twist? The MotoGP™ ‘transfer window’ has already burst into life and it’s only going to continue to throw up some surprises. Will we see more signings before the riders hit the Losail International Circuit asphalt?