Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales have lifted the covers on Yamaha’s 2017 colour scheme as the countdown to the new season gets underway. The pair were on hand at Telefonica’s headquarters in Madrid for the team’s launch as they set about regaining the MotoGP world championship from Marc Marquez and Honda.
Rossi ended last season as the championship runner-up for the third time in four years and the Italian is intent on going one better in 2017.
“After the winter break, the team launch is always a very exciting time for everybody, not only for us, the riders and the team, but also for the fans. Sincerely, I‘m just as happy as they are to start the new season, I have missed riding my bike. The pre-season test in Sepang will be an interesting moment, we will get a good idea of our level and it‘s also the first time I‘ll get to take the YZR-M1 out on track in its 2017 colours. This is the fourth year that Movistar will be our team‘s title sponsor. In the last three years, we enjoyed some fantastic battles and great results and this season the target remains the same: to be competitive again and fight for the victory in every race. I have a new strong teammate and I think we can have a lot of fun this season.”
Vinales impressed everyone with his performances in testing following his switch from Suzuki, outpacing Rossi in Valencia, and the Spaniard admits he has settled in quicker than he had expected.
“After the test in Valencia and Malaysia I got off the bike feeling very happy because I was on the level I wanted to be at. The whole Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team can‘t wait to start the season because we know we can be at a 100% level and compete at the front. Today we revealed the bike and it looks beautiful, I wish I could start riding it right now! When I was a kid, I used to watch Valentino riding his M1 and now I‘m here at the team launch, it‘s like a dream come true! I‘m so happy and motivated and I‘m ready to give it my all. I want to thank Yamaha, Movistar and of course the team. They have welcomed me very warmly, so it is a great start to the season already. Honestly speaking, I was quite surprised by the family-feel, because on the outside you see a very serious and professional team, but as soon as I went inside the box I felt incredible. I‘m really pleased to be here, at Telefónica Headquarters in Madrid, and thanks to everyone for coming to support us. It‘s going to be a great year!”
2017 will be Yamaha’s first year for a decade without Jorge Lorenzo in its ranks and Managing Director Lin Jarvis sees it as the start of an exciting new era.
“We see today not only as the official start of the 2017 season but also the start of a next chapter with our exciting new rider line-up; it is a new beginning and so Movistar‘s slogan “We Choose to Make History” is certainly very fitting and one we will strive to live up to. We have Maverick Viñales joining us as he searches for his first MotoGP class title and Valentino Rossi, who has his eyes set on World Championship title number ten. Both are eager to reach their goals and hungry to win races and most of all have good battles at the front of the pack. With their dedication and the commitment of our engineers and team staff, I‘m confident we are in for another exciting and highly competitive season.”