Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis has revealed that he is hopeful of being in a position to finalise the team's 2011 MotoGP line-up by the time the season resumes at Brno next month.
Both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are out of contract at the end of the current season and while Lorenzo is hotly tipped to stay where he is, rumours continue about where Rossi's future lies – with the multiple champion widely expected to make a switch to Ducati to replace the departing Casey Stoner.
With no riders currently signed to the factory team for 2011, talks are ongoing to finalise Yamaha's line-up and Jarvis said he was keen to see everything signed and sealed before the Czech race.
“The proposal has been made and I would say things are at a good point,” he told the Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport
. “We would like everything to be agreed for Brno so we can announce the 2011 team.”
While Rossi is expected to move on, the Italian has an offer on the table to remain with Yamaha but has yet to give the team a definitive answer on his future plans.
“I can't give details on negotiations but the offer we have made is perfectly acceptable,” Jarvis added. “That is our view.”
Should Rossi, or indeed Lorenzo for that matter, elect to move on next season, current Tech 3 rider Ben Spies would be given the chance to make the move into the full factory team after an impressive debut season with the satellite team which has included the best finish for a non-factory rider after he took third at Silverstone.
“If one of our two riders leave, then he will be in the team,” Jarvis continued. “We believe we will have a winning team in 2011.”
The issue of riders isn't the only thing Yamaha needs to confirm for next season, with the issue of sponsorship being tied into the line-up that the team fields.
FIAT has been title sponsor of the factory team since 2007 but if Rossi leaves, Jarvis admitted it is likely that the Italian car manufacturer will follow suit.
“It depends on the answer we get from Valentino,” he said. “We already have a contract with Petronas for 2011 and could increase their effort and space on the bike. We are also talking with other companies outside motorcycling but we aren't worried.
“This will be the third step and the priority is to sort the team.”