Maverick Viñales Signs New Two-Year Deal With Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team

The first domino has fallen in the 2018 Silly Season (or perhaps Silly Preseason). Maverick Viñales announced during the presentation of the Movistar Yamaha team in Madrid that he has signed a new two-year deal with Yamaha. At the launch, he said he felt very happy inside the team, and felt they shared his objectives.

"I will be two more years in Yamaha," Viñales told the presenters, Izaskun Ruiz and Dylan Gray. "I'm very happy. I feel really good in the team, I feel the competitiveness, and especially I felt the desire to win. It's something I like, it's something I want, and we arrived at a really good compromise, and for both, it's been really special and good. So thanks to Yamaha, because as always, they made my dreams come true. Let's see if this year we can do another one."  

Viñales said he felt part of the family at Yamaha. "You share the objectives, you share the passion, all the competition, so for me it's like being in a family that shares the same feelings that I have, so it's really important. And then I have a really good feeling inside Yamaha, with all the staff, all the people, all the bosses. So I feel great here. As I said, it's also a pleasure to be fast and trying to be on the maximum level, and trying to achieve the objective we couldn't do last year. " 

Viñales is the first factory rider to announce he has signed a contract, though at the Ducati launch last week, the Ducati bosses announced they hoped to sign both their riders before the start of the season. Last time around, Yamaha sent out contract offers to both of its riders at the same time. Valentino Rossi has consistently said he wants to wait until the first few races are complete before making a decision about his future, and as a consequence, he had no announcement to make at the launch in Madrid.

The press release from Yamaha appears below:

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. is delighted to announce that it has extended its Rider Agreement with Maverick Viñales by another two years.


It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announce the re-signing of Maverick Viñales with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team for two further years. The news was made official today, during the 2018 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team presentation, held in Casa Del Lector, Matadero (Madrid, Spain).

Viñales finished his first year with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP in third place in the MotoGP Championship standings. With three brilliant race wins and a total of seven strong podium finishes in 2017, Yamaha is confident in their partnership with the 23-year-old Spaniard and looks forward to being a serious title contender in 2018 and the following two seasons.

Lin Jarvis

I’m very happy we have reached an agreement for Maverick to continue as a factory rider for Yamaha. The announcement that he will be staying with the team for two further years after 2018 is a fantastic way to start the new season: it shows clear commitment by both parties and affirms a reciprocal confidence that together we can achieve our mutual goal of becoming MotoGP World Champions.

Maverick has been a real asset to the team as soon as he came in. He’s full of motivation and never loses sight of his goals. The 2017 season wasn’t easy, yet he has already delivered Yamaha three race wins and secured the manufacturer its 500th Grand Prix win in his first year with us. Furthermore, he took third in the championship standings after switching manufacturers, which is also an impressive achievement.

Maverick is still very young, so we see a great future for him in Grand Prix racing, and we are very excited to challenge alongside with him during the upcoming three seasons of MotoGP.

Maverick Viñales

I’m really happy that Yamaha and I have extended our contract by two more years. It’s great for me and the team that we were able to make this announcement this early on, because it gives us a sense of calm: we know that I will continue riding my M1 for the coming three seasons, so now we can just focus on the actual racing. I’m very satisfied with this decision. I have a lot of belief in the team and in Yamaha and I’m happy that they feel the same way. I want to thank Yamaha for their vote of confidence, and also the fans, who are always supporting us. We will continue to work hard. We will be pushing to the maximum at all the Grands Prix and I look forward to three more incredible seasons together!

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Rossi will continue indefinitely (age 46, 50...??) unless he becomes totally uncompetitive (unlikely), or he gets injured (less likely these days but still possible).  Sometimes I get the impression he'd rather go out in a blaze of glory rather than succumbing to the ignimony of age.  But while ever he's got even the faintest sniff of an occasional podium he will race on I reckon.

It's fascinating to think what he will do afterwards, people are saying he will take over from T3 as the satellite team, but I really wonder how that will fit with him.  By default the satellite team will be expected to tow the company line, which means at most being the talent feeder to the factory team, picking up the odd podium.  I wonder how Rossi will cope with going racing without the realistic expectation of getting a win?  I can see him running the factory team, replacing Jarvis or so.  Playing second fiddle is not in his nature.

Anyhow, about Mav, this was to be expected.  He showed both great promise and great disappointment last year.  His head was not fully screwed on when things went bad, but he did have some good 'plugging on' results even when things were not going to plan.  Hopefully we see him continue to mature as a racer and a person.  MotoGP is looking very good for the next few years...

PREDICTION 2018 MOTOGP: Yamaha launch, Maverick Viñales a TWO year contract already! WHY: IMHO it will be Rossi's final year and Viñales with do EVERYTHING he can to help him win. He wins he retires. 2019 Zarco comes in with a year/ two year contract and he and Viñales go for it in 2019/20. IMHO.

Zarco to get a 'special 207/18 machine this year! IMHO...... it will be close, however not to forget the Marquez factor.... he is on the top of his game, almost unstoppable and Yamaha know it, they seem to be throwing everything into the 2018 Rossi's possible final year! BUT ALL IMHO.......