Confirmed - Vinales to Yamaha, Iannone to Suzuki

After weeks of speculation, Vinales has made his decision and will replace Lorenzo at Yamaha, Iannone who was without a ride has been snapped up by Suzuki in place of Vinales.

Confirmed - Vinales to Yamaha, Iannone to Suzuki
Confirmed - Vinales to Yamaha, Iannone to Suzuki (Source: Motor Cyclist Online)

After weeks of speculation and following on from Jorge Lorenzo’s decision to move from Movistar Yamaha to factory Ducati, Maverick Vinales will be taking his place alongside Valentino Rossi in the Movistar Yamaha camp for two seasons after signing a two year contract.

Long and hard decision for Vinales

Yamaha approached the Team Suzuki Ecstar rider immediately after Lorenzo’s announcement and since then he has had a hard decision whether to “follow his head or his heart”. A statement was released on 19th May 2016 on the Movistar Yamaha website that, “It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd announces the signing of Maverick Vinales to ride for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team for 2017 and 2018”.

Jorge Lorenzo (Source: Crash.net)
Jorge Lorenzo (Source: Crash.net)

The twenty-one year old has looked impressive throughout the start of the season, in testing and in the first few rounds as he has worked to help ‘evolve’ the Suzuki which is in its second year since returning to the MotoGP. Vinales also completed his rookie year in the MotoGP class in 2015 and already has become a sought after rider. He has competed in the World Championship series since 2011 winning the 125cc Moto3 in 2013, and has also claimed “Rookie of the Year” in each three classes.

Vinales to partner up with a champion

He will ride alongside nine times world champion Rossi who also confirmed that he would remain with Movistar Yamaha for two more years. Vinales now has an even more promising future as he has joined a championship winning team who have been successful with Rossi and Lorenzo both winning the title, and he will be under the guidance of the most experienced rider in the paddock.

Iannone will take Vinales' place at Suzuki

Immediately after losing their rider, Team Suzuki Ecstar have announced “the agreement with Andrea Iannone as a Factory rider of Team Suzuki Ecstar for 2017-2018”.

In order for Lorenzo to join the factory Ducati team, one of the current Italian riders had to be let go and it was announced recently that Andrea Dovizioso would stay and Iannone was to be released. However Suzuki have snapped up ‘The Maniac’ and continued to say, “The Italian will ride the Factory GSX-RR in the MotoGP World Championship for the upcoming two years following the 2016 season.”

Iannone has not had as many titles under his belt, racing since 2005 in the 125cc World Championship he remained there for five years before progressing to Moto2 in 2010 and to MotoGP in 2013. He has had podium finishes in the MotoGP however his inconsistency, as he has a habit of exceeding ‘the limit’ has prevented him from being in a challenging position for the championships.

Brivio happy to enroll one of the top riders in MotoGP

Team Suzuki Ecstar Manager Davide Brivio declared, “We are happy to have enrolled Andrea in our team for the next two years!” Describing him as “one of the top riders in MotoGP” and also as “very passionate and motiviated” he feels that these qualities “fit into our racing philosophy”. Brivio spoke of the development of the GSX-RR and how they are working towards making it very competitive “so that it can fight consistently close to the top” as he is hoping for “victory as soon as possible”.

With needing to replace Vinales he said, “We wanted a rider that could help Suzuki continue its road to the top”. Rumours were amid that Moto2 2015 Champion Johann Zarco may have stepped up to the challenge. Speaking highly of him again, Brivio said, “Andrea is a fast rider who has the hunger for success and his riding style could suit our machine’s characteristics” because of this he feels it is, “giving us good hopes for a positive partnership”. He statement on the Team Suzuki Ecstar website finished with him stating, “Being in his fourth year in MotoGP, he’s also an experienced rider from which the whole Team will benefit”.

Now, is that it? Is everyone else going to stay put? Riders will appear at the post race press-conference later on today ahead of the sixth round of the MotoGP season in Mugello, Italy, the home GP of ‘The Maniac’ Iannone.