2019 has been a tough season for Yamaha, who was never really involved in the fight for the World Championship, which was dominated by Marc Marquez, but Iwata’s crew showed a lot of positive things during the year and was able to win two races with Maverick Vinales in Assen and Sepang, where in both occasion the Spaniard made a solo run to the win. On the other side of the box, Valentino Rossi conquered two podiums in the opening rounds in Austin and Argentina, being really close to the victory in America where he was beaten by Alex Rins.
The “new” Yamaha has been unveiled in Malaysia today, just one day before the first team of pre-season MotoGP test in Sepang where Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales will work really hard to improve the bike to be more competitive than last year.
One of the weakest point of the bike last year was the lack of power on the engine and Yamaha are working really hard on this aspect to close the gap to the rivals, paying attention to do not lose their strengths. That is why Iwata’s crew engaged Jorge Lorenzo as test rider, a really good one who knows really well the bike too. The Spaniard had his best period in MotoGP with Yamaha and won 3 World Titles and surely could give a lot of good tips on how to improve the bike.
Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi are happy as well, as long as both riders asked in the last years a different test team composed not only by Japanese rider but also from guy who had experience in the World Championship as done by Ducati with Michele Pirro and Honda with Stefan Bradl. Maverick and Valentino complained a lot about this aspect and now can be both satisfied with the sign made by Yamaha and benefit from the development work of Japanese Team.
2020 will also be last year with this team for Valentino Rossi: Yamaha made their moves really quickly and announced Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo in the Factory Team, but does not mean Rossi is out of racing in 2021. The Italian has indeed a chance to ride in the Satellite Team replacing Fabio Quartararo in Yamaha Petronas, having a totally Factory treatment. Rossi’s decision is still on the line, as long as 9 times World Champion declared that he will decide after a bunch of races to see if he still will be competitive to compete in the World Championship.
Rossi talked about it: “I asked support from Yamaha and they actually gave it to me. My goal is to race again on 2021, Yamaha Petronas is a fantastic team and their level is really high, it will not change a lot switching from Factory Yamaha to Petronas Yamaha to be honest. I will decide my future year after year. Yamaha made the right choice by signing Fabio (Quartararo), he is young and impressively fast.
What about a 2021 team with Jorge? It would be awesome, but we should not forget Franco Morbidelli who is really fast”
Vinales was the first MotoGP rider who made his move by renewing his contract: “It was not an easy decision. During the last months I had a great support from Yamaha, especially after the Summer break and that was one of the key that brought me on changing mentality and converting my positive mind to great result. I focused on my training during the winter, I did not think about any other offer. When I had to decide my future, I did. For me staying in Yamaha was really important”