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MotoGP: Yamaha: Rossi, Vinales 'a fantastic combination'

"To have the greatest rider of all time, with the greatest new talent, is a fantastic combination" - Lin Jarvis, Yamaha.
Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis has praised the 'fantastic combination' of Valentino Rossi and new signing Maverick Vinales for MotoGP 2017.

Rossi, described by Jarvis as the 'greatest of all time', raced alongside Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha from 2007-2010 and again after the Italian's return from Ducati in 2013.

The pair carried Yamaha to a perfect triple crown of riders', teams' and constructors' titles in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2015 - but their partnership was also tainted by periods of bitter rivalry on and off-track.

With Lorenzo departing for Ducati, Yamaha responded by signing rising star Vinales, who gave Suzuki it's first MotoGP win since 2007 at Silverstone last season. The 22-year-old has instantly proven his worth by being fastest in every test appearance he has made so far on the M1, including last week's official outing at Sepang.

Asked about the relationship between the new team-mates at today's Yamaha Racing launch in Milan, Jarvis declared:

"So far I have to say it's excellent... They had this mutual respect beforehand - Valentino has always been Maverick's idol and he continues to see him in that way. So you don't have this sort of animosity between the two riders. That's really good and it's like a breathe of fresh air frankly at the moment.

"What was pleasing was that at the end of the last test, usually the riders are in their own zones, finish their work and go back to the hotel. But Maverick's is very curious, motivated, and he came up to Valentino; 'what about this? what about that? What do you think?' You could see Valentino then lit up.

"Valentino is, let's be honest, the greatest of all time. So for us to have the greatest rider of all time, with the greatest new talent, is a fantastic combination. Brilliant.

"Valentino likes to share as well. Of course he doesn't like to be beaten, but as you can see with his Academy he likes to share his knowledge with young riders. So let's see how long we can keep that [atmosphere] going during the season.

"We're under no false impressions, because if it gets to the back end of the season and they are both fighting for the championship dynamics change. In the meantime, we start with a great feeling in the garage."

The outcome of the Sepang test has only reinforced Jarvis' aim for nothing less than another MotoGP triple crown - with both his riders capable of claiming individual honours.

Rossi, notorious for being more competitive in races than tests, set the sixth fastest lap time - but was a mere 0.221s slower than Vinales.

"Valentino in the last three years has been 2nd-2nd-2nd. That's really impressive. He'll turn 38 next week, February 16, so to still have that speed at that age is phenomenal. Clearly he has the potential to win that tenth title.

"Maverick in my opinion is a serious title contender this year. He's fitting in very, very well to the team and the bike. He's comfortable and focused. What's remarkable is every test so far, he's been fastest.

"So we've got two guys absolutely capable. The bike we tested in Malaysia was really good and everything the engineers brought was working. That doesn't often happen. Sometimes if you bring things they don't work, but everything we tried was working out well.

"I stated at our MotoGP team launch a few weeks ago that we are going for the triple crown, so we really want the teams', constructors' and riders' title. I think we can do it. We will try."

The second of the three official pre-season MotoGP tests takes place at Phillip Island next week.

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Tagged as: Yamaha , Valentino Rossi , Vinales

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February 07, 2017 3:17 PM

'Greatest rider of all time...' Greatest is very much a matter of values and resulting perspective. What lens you're seeing the world through. Think though that as a race team they would do better to focus on racing realities instead of helping to keep a long very leaky PR balloon aloft. Doing so likely cost them plenty last year and may yet so so again this one, but maybe the PR is in corporate terms worth more than winning...

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