The pre-season MotoGP test session is not for another week and already Maverick Vinales is the first to strike a deal with Yamaha which will see the young Spaniard racing for the factory squad until the end of 2022.
This newly signed agreement confirms that Yamaha is confident with Maverick Vinales and his abilities to carry them forward not only the upcoming seasons but also be the front runner is winning back the championship and developing the ever-growing Yamaha YZR-M1.
Although many people would tend to think that it’s way too early for any rider or manufacturer to cement such an agreement this early, it does make sense in many ways. For one, Vinales finished last season in the third position in the championship, which also saw him as the top Yamaha rider despite a lot of that limelight falling on a certain rookie by the name of Fabio Quartararo.
Vinales also scored six wins in the past three seasons compared to Rossi who only bagged one in the same period. Vinales also secured 19 podium finishes (six more than Rossi) and nine pole positions (eight more than Rossi). As of now, most of you will probably agree with the Yamaha factory team to extend such a deal to Maverick and no other riders.
As for Valentino Rossi, his decision to continue racing in MotoGP will be based on how he performs in the first few races of 2020. If both Rossi and Yamaha feel that they are still a competitive package, Rossi too might see a contract extension going into 2021.
While Quartararo looks like the perfect candidate to replace the legendary Italian rider in the factory squad, Quartararo had different circumstances going into his first MotoGP season with relatively nothing to lose and no pressure to perform.
Having said that, Yamaha agrees that the young Frenchman is a wonderful match with the Yamaha M1, and it would make total sense to keep him on one, no matter the team.
Image source: MotoGP