Jorge Lorenzo’s move may have left Yamaha high and dry, but it’s found a solution in Maverick Viñales.
When someone of Jorge Lorenzo’s calibre heads off for greener pastures, you scramble to fill the gaps. Yamaha thought its worries were over when Dani Pedrosa was initially slated for a shift, but it turned out the Repsol Honda driver would remain exactly where he was at least until 2018. Two years is a heck of a while to wait, so in the meantime, they decided to take a chance on Team Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales.
While Viñales is a relative newbie compared to veteran Pedrosa, he’s no stranger to success on the track, having secured himself an enviable fifth place in the MotoGP World Championship standings. He’s also got three Rookie of the Year awards under his belt and a victory at the World Championship in 2013. Best of all, Team Suzuki is totally willing to let him go. They have just announced that they and Viñales will no longer be collaborating after the 2016 MotoGP season.
— MotoGP™ 🇹🇭⏱ (@MotoGP) May 19, 2016
Viñales will be staying with Yamaha throughout 2017 and 2018 and will partner nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.
While nobody’s expecting him to replicate Jorge Lorenzo’s results (yet), there’s no denying that big things are in store for the young Spaniard. Three Rookie awards alone are indication that he is well ahead of the curve compared to other riders of his generation. And his stunning debut finish on the podium was an outstanding display of his ability, putting him only four points behind the esteemed Dani Pedrosa. We think Yamaha is smart to capitalise on so much latent potential and use it to its fullest, thereby gaining all the credit for playing an instrumental role in nurturing a future great.