As expected, Yamaha has signed MotoGP sophomore Maverick Vinales to race for its factory team, taking Jorge Lorenzo‘s spot alongside Valentino Rossi at the end of the season. The 2015 MotoGP Rookie of the Year is signed through the 2018 season.
Vinales currently sits fifth in the MotoGP championship race with Suzuki Ecstar after recording his first premier class podium at the previous round in Le Mans. The 21-year-old from Figueres, Spain, made his grand prix racing debut in the 125 class in 2011 with the Paris Hilton-backed Blusens team and won the 2013 Moto3 championship for Team Calvo. Vinales entered the MotoGP class last season, finishing 12th overall in the first season for both himself and the Suzuki GSX-RR.
Taking Vinales place with Suzuki in this game of MotoGP musical chairs is Andrea Iannone. The Italian joins Suzuki after four seasons on a Ducati (the last two as a factory rider) but lost his seat for the next year to Lorenzo.
Here are the official announcements from his former team, Suzuki Ecstar, and Yamaha:
SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION AND MAVERICK VIÑALES TO PART AT THE END OF 2016
Suzuki Motor Corporation announces that its collaboration with Maverick Viñales will come to an end after the 2016 MotoGP season.
All the Suzuki family is extremely grateful to Viñales for his contribution to the growth of the MotoGP™ project and the development of the GSX-RR, as well as for the great results they have achieved together.
Since the 2016 season is still under way, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR and Suzuki Motor Corporation will continue their unconditioned support to Maverick, looking forward to even better results in the remaining MotoGP races.
We wish all the best to Maverick Viñales for a bright and successful future.
YAMAHA CONFIRMS MAVERICK VIÑALES FOR THE 2017 AND 2018 MOTOGP SEASONS
It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd announces the signing of Maverick Viñales to ride for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team for 2017 and 2018.
Viñales, who is presently 5th in the MotoGP™ Championship standings, will partner 9-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, whose contract renewal was already announced in March this year.
Maverick Viñales, born in Figueres (Spain) on 12th January 1995, made his World Championship debut in 2011 in the 125cc Class. His racing career highlights include the victory of the Moto3™ World Championship in 2013 as well as 3 ’Rookie of the Year‘ awards in 2011 (125cc), 2014 (Moto2™) and 2015 (MotoGP™).