Yamaha reveals new MotoGP bike


Yamaha reveals 2018 YZR-M1 and contract extension for Maverick Viñales – but stays silent on Valentino Rossi’s future

Yamaha launched Valentino Rossi’s and Maverick Viñales’ 2018 YZR-M1 MotoGP bike on Wednesday in Madrid, also announcing a two-year contract extension for Viñales. However, nine-time champion Rossi’s future remains uncertain, with the veteran entering the final year of his contract. 2018 will be Rossi’s 13th season with Yamaha and his sixth consecutive year with the Japanese manufacturer.

Following extensive testing of numerous 2017 chassis, plus a 2016 chassis which it used in the final race of 2017, Yamaha is expected to use an evolved version of its 2016 chassis for the season ahead. Long-term suppliers Brembo and Öhlins supply the brakes and suspension, respectively.

The YZR-M1 sports Movistar’s logo – this time in white – with telecoms provider Telefónica continuing its five-year partnership with the team, which began in 2014.

Related:  Rossi likely to sign new deal before Qatar GP

Viñales, now in his second year with Yamaha, took third place in the 2017 riders’ standings and will remain with the outfit until at least 2020. 

“Last year we had a really strong start at the first few rounds and we finished third in the championship,” said the 23-year-old. “This year we’ll try to improve on what we did last year. We have a really good team, so I think it’s only natural that we aim for the win in every race and ultimately for the championship title, but of course we’ll only achieve this if we stay focused every session and push as hard as we can.

“We’ll be giving the 2018 bike a try in Sepang in a few days’ time, which is also where we held our last test of 2017. We’ll use that data to start the season in the best way possible. The first time you start the engine and hear the sound of your new bike is something special – it will be the sound of the new season.”

There was, however, no mention of a contract extension for 38-year-old Rossi, who briefly led the standings in 2017 before two injuries cut short his attempts to claim a 10th title.

“Sincerely, I’m looking forward to starting the new season,” said Rossi. “Last year, I had one win and six podiums, but also some problems and injuries. We want to make our fifth year with Movistar memorable, so this year we will be pushing as hard as we can. The test in Sepang will be important. It’s the first opportunity for my guys to get together this year, which will be fun, but we’ll soon get serious, because we want to get an idea of our level as soon as possible.”

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