He might have won the last two GPs back-to-back, he might be nine points clear at the top of the title standings and he might currently be showing the way to his record-breaking, seemingly unbeatable team-mate Valentino Rossi – but FIAT Yamaha will not enter into a bidding war with Ducati Corse in order to retain the services of Jorge Lorenzo next year, insists Lin Jarvis.
The Italian outfit's team manager stated last week that FIAT Yamaha's objective is to keep hold of both of its riders into 2011 [see separate story – click here
]. Both are out of contract come season's end – as, indeed, are the majority of the premier class field.
However, with the Italian and Spaniard having both come in for bids from rival teams – and the latter in particular having been pursued with some determination and a generous offer by Ducati last year – and Yamaha having suffered more than other manufacturers financially in 2009, it has been suggested that money could ultimately end up playing a deciding role.
An added complication is the uneasy relationship between the two team-mates, with nine-time world champion Rossi having sensationally claimed in Valencia last year that Yamaha would have to choose between him and Lorenzo in 2011 – in other words, between arguably the greatest competitor in motorcycling history but one who will likely soon be entering the autumn of his career, or the promising young rider across the other side of the pit garage who for many represents the future.
“That's our programme,” Jarvis told Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport
. “They cost too much together? I don't think it's just a matter of money. We can give them an adequate retainer for their value, plus a very interesting technical situation and bike.
“I don't like market talk so early in the season. However, we must accept it, so we are doing our talks and we hope to be able to define the 2011 team by mid season, let's say by Laguna Seca, in order to be able to focus on results during the second half of the season. We certainly have no interest in fighting over [Lorenzo's] retainer. FIAT are very happy and they would like to go on with the same people. In any case, we'll sort out the riders first.”