What do Yamaha look for in a rider?

In a fascinating chat on the MotoGP™ Podcast, Lin Jarvis reveals what he and Yamaha look for when choosing their MotoGP™ riders

In the latest episode of the MotoGP™ Podcast, Managing Director of Yamaha Motorsport Lin Jarvis sat down with Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld in Jerez – socially distanced of course – for a sensational and insightful chat about his life, and what it’s been like working with superstars.

One of the topics Jarvis delved into was how do Yamaha pick out the talent they want in their premier class team. The London-born Jarvis admits he isn’t “a genius” at picking out young riders, like Repsol Honda Team Manager Alberto Puig does, but he and Yamaha have a different philosophy.

“I’m not a genius at picking out young riders, I’m not a guy who can spot a kid at 13 coming through. If you want to speak about someone like that then maybe look at Alberto Puig. He’s a good example of someone who is technically sharp as an ex rider, who brought up some successful riders. But that’s not my forte, or my skill,” commented Jarvis.

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“What I look for, we tend to look at the stage just before MotoGP™, so Moto2™ level and early MotoGP™ career. Talented riders, fast riders, motivated and passionate riders. There are many but the number that become World Champions are very few. Jorge was one of the good ones in that sense. Because he was, when he was in 250s, we signed him early because we could see it. He had that burning passion, desire to win. That’s, a lot of riders are very talented but few have that plus alpha, that extra touch that you’re really looking for. How do you identify it? It’s difficult to say but you can feel it, you can sense it.”

Yamaha are still waiting for their first World Champion since Jorge Lorenzo in 2015, but their line-up looks to be well worthy of a title or two in the coming years. Jarvis goes onto explain his thoughts about Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo, who will don the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing colours in 2021 and beyond in the hope of dethroning Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda.

“In the case of Maverick I think he’s got a great potential, if he can keep himself consistent and positive. Sometimes he’s erratic but very skilled. If you can keep him in his zone, and sweet spot, he’s got the capacity to win a World Championship, or even more.


“In the case of Fabio, he’s had an interesting career up till now. Incredible success early on, then he had some rough times, and then he came into MotoGP™ by surprise. It surprised us as well. We supported the decision of the team, it was their choice to bring him in and we said ‘why not? Nothing to lose, let’s give him a ride’. He showed his talent back in the day. I remember meeting his earlier manager when he was probably 15 or 16. We were busy with that, but he came in last year and you could see it all clicked. You need many, many things to be aligned in order to win the World Championship.

“Marc is in that situation now, in that sweet spot, perhaps the only guy who can ride the Honda and extract the best out of it. He’s incredibly fit and talented, incredibly motivated and he’s got all of his stars aligned for this period for him. But everything comes to an end and it is our mission to be the next ones to come into that zone and start to win again. I believe that our two guys that we’ve taken on board, they have that potential.”

The Yamaha vs Marc Marquez fight is set to rage on in 2020 too, as the paddock welcomes back the reigning World Champion in Brno. It’s a Quartararo and Viñales 1-2 at the top of the overall standings currently, but will it stay that way?

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