Movistar Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis has confirmed that discussions are ongoing with Maverick Vinales and 'several other riders' as potential replacements for Jorge Lorenzo.
Suzuki rider Vinales has been strongly linked to the team following Lorenzo's decision to move to Ducati in a two-year deal from 2017, although Jarvis dismissed speculation of a move for Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez to join Valentino Rossi on the factory M1, saying with a wry smile: “I think that's highly unlikely.”
Stating his admiration for Vinales, Jarvis touted the young Spaniard as a future MotoGP world champion.
“Maverick has proven that he is one of the new future talents of MotoGP and I think he has a very good chance to go on to be world champion in the future and he's an attractive rider,” he said.
“We're in discussion with the managers of many riders, several riders, so it would be absolutely too premature to say that we're close or not close. We've expressed our interest [in Vinales] and there's an ongoing discussion – that's it.
“There are other options that we have as well, other riders with different profiles, but things are never as simple and straightforward as they seem. A lot of fans think that it's a very simple thing and maybe sometimes even the media, but behind the scenes there are lots of complications and lots of issues that we have to take into consideration,” he added.
“We need to now look at all the different candidates and the fortunate thing is that we have a really good bike and a really good team, so I think that we have an attractive package on offer.”
Jarvis said there was no definitive time limit on confirming a new rider to join Rossi, adding: “With Jorge's proposal, we had a time limit on that which was not a bad thing I feel because it forced a situation that could have dragged on for a long, long time.
“But there is no real time limit [on a replacement]. We will take our time and make the right decision.”