After a press conference to discuss Monster Energy's 2019 title sponsorship of the factory Yamaha MotoGP team at Brno on Thursday evening, Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis stayed to answer questions from a small group of journalists on the team's issues this season.

Yamaha's losing streak…

Yamaha has not won since Assen last year, with its 19-race defeat forming the factory's longest losing streak since 2002.

On the other hand, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales are second and third in the riders' world championship (albeit a distant 46 and 56 points from Marc Marquez) with Tech3's Johann Zarco making it three M1s in the top five.

"We need to win and that's what we're here for," said Jarvis. "Our partners want to win, our fans want to win, Yamaha Motor wants to win. We won Suzuka last weekend and you could see how important getting a victory is. We have been close on several occasions.

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"I'm disappointed we haven't won for a year, because we are accustomed to winning more in the past, and we are a winning team. And OK, our last championship victory was a couple of years ago, but we've won several world championships consistently over the years, so we know we have the capacity to win again and I'm disappointed that we lost the way a little bit."

The pressure created when a multi-title winning team suddenly stops winning is felt by all its members.

Vinales is rumoured to be splitting from crew chief Ramon Forcada at the end of this year (Forcada is tipped to move to the new SIC Yamaha team and work with Franco Morbidelli) while some reports have even suggested the relationship between Rossi and Jarvis has become strained.

Jarvis, who was at Rossi's ranch earlier this week for the fifth edition of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp, shrugged off the speculation but recognised the corrosive effect such a losing streak can have.

"It's always easier to work in a winning environment, there's no doubt about it," Jarvis said. "If you're winning, everything is fine. Even the things that are bad are fine, if you're winning.

"So of course it puts pressure on the team, on the relationships, the riders are pushing the engineers to develop the bike.

"I don't design the bike, I don't develop the bike. So you can fire me and it won't change anything in terms of bike design. I think [such speculation] is just an expression of people, everybody feels the same thing, that we want to win, we want to be successful, and as I said, we're very, very close.

"We're not in a disastrous situation, we're second and third in the championship and at the last race we were second and third."

And while Jarvis is disappointed by Yamaha's winless run, he also feels they are being beaten by Marquez rather than Honda.

"Am I surprised about Honda? I'm not really surprised about Márquez, because I think if you talk about Honda, you talk primarily about Márquez, and Márquez is an athlete that right at this moment, especially this year, seems to have married himself very, very well to the Honda package.

"He's in top form, he is a sensational rider, and when he is able to contain himself, then he's very, very, very strong. So he's an extremely tough competitor to beat. But our riders have the potential to beat him, we've done it in the past and we will do it again in the future."

'It's electronics integrated with chassis design'

Valentino Rossi says he has been asking for electronic upgrades to help improve the M1's acceleration, relative to Honda and Ducati, for a year.

But still the wait goes on and it now seems only 'a small step' will be ready for Monday's post-race test at Brno.

"We still need to sort out a few more things," Jarvis said. "I don't want to go into the details, because I don't think it's the time or place to do that, but anyway we're working hard, we need to win again. Not once, but consistently win again. So that's what we’re pushing for.

"But to win, to beat Márquez, to beat the Honda, you've got to be right there, you've got to be right on it. And we're not, we're missing a few percent, and that's why we owe to our riders to develop the bike and to get up to speed there. And that's what we have to do.

"But that takes some time. And if you try to speed it up - everybody has talked about this electronics problem, it's not that simple. It's not only electronics, it's electronics integrated with chassis design, but in order to make progress, you have to first make the progress, and then you have to test it.

"We have to test it and prove that whatever you've done works and is safe. And that means you have to go through processes, and if you take a short cut, this is not the way."

One way to speed-up development would be for Yamaha to hire a European test rider to complement the existing Japanese test team.

"Obviously we have our testing team, but that's been based in Japan primarily, with Nakasuga. Probably we need to put even more energy behind testing and to keep making progress. So it's something we are definitely looking at for the future," Jarvis confirmed.

And with experienced MotoGP race riders such as Bradley Smith and Alvaro Bautista (plus Jonas Folger) without a seat for 2019, there would be no shortage of high-quality contenders for the role.

"I think that what we need is a good plan, and I don't think we will have a big problem to find candidate riders."

The Sepang Yamaha team

Yamaha's 20-year association with Tech3 will end when the French team switches to KTM machinery for 2019.

Click Below for Page 2...

The Sepang Yamaha team…

Yamaha's 20-year association with Tech3 will end when the French team switches to KTM machinery for 2019.

Taking over the satellite Yamahas will be the new Sepang International Circuit team, although many details of the project - including the riders - are still to be officially announced.

"My understanding is that they will probably announce at Silverstone," Jarvis said.

"I think because the Sepang International Circuit is part of a government-controlled operation and group. And their possible sponsor [Petronas] is also part of a very large corporation.

"Whenever you get involved in large corporations or government-funded activities there is a certain protocol that has to be followed before you can reach the point of an announcement. So that's what I believe is going to be a factor [in the delay].

"Anyway, from what I understand, the team is signed up and the team has ordered the bikes. So for me the most important part that I needed right now is done.

"However to announce the final riders, to announce the sponsor, to announce everything else - everybody at every level has to be aligned, pre-informed, and this is something that takes time."

While official confirmation is lacking, it looks certain that the Malaysian team has chosen Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo as its riders, after Dani Pedrosa opted for retirement.

"I think their [SIC] rider choice is done. Whether they’ve signed their agreements yet or not is something only the team can tell you," Jarvis said.

Yamaha "might have expressed preferences" over the satellite riders and "obviously we have mutual interests", but neither rider will be contracted directly to Yamaha: "This is a satellite project, so they will have individual contracts with the satellite team."

Reigning Moto2 world champion Morbidelli, currently at Marc VDS Honda, was leading the MotoGP Rookie of the Year standings until an arm injury at Assen. The Italian had previously been of interest to Yamaha, but at the time there were no spare M1s to place him on at Tech3.

Quartararo meanwhile is a more controversial choice.

Arriving in grand prix as a 15-year-old superstar riding for Emilio Alzamora's Estrella team in 2015, Quartararo was tipped to follow in the footsteps of Marc Marquez.

But after two podiums in an injury-interrupted rookie season, the French youngster split from Alzamora and wouldn't stand on the rostrum again until his shock Barcelona Moto2 victory, also the first for Speed Up since 2015.

"I think he's a very talented young kid, who began sensationally in this environment when he was in Moto3 some years ago," Jarvis said. "Then I think he lost his way a little bit. But I think you can lose your way, but you don't lose talent.

"So in my opinion, he is a very good future candidate rider, but he needs to also have an environment where there's not too much pressure on him to perform again instantly. And it's good to see he's finally coming back into the zone this year, and seems to be finding himself again and feeling a bit more self-confident."

Another unofficial, but highly rumoured signing is that of Wilco Zeelenberg as the new SIC team manager.

The Dutchman, team manager for Cal Crutchlow when the Englishman won the 2009 World Supersport title for Yamaha, moved to MotoGP the following season to become team manager to new signing Jorge Lorenzo in a (literally) divided garage alongside Rossi.

The factory Yamaha team continued to employ a team manager for each rider until 2015, when Zeelenberg's official role became 'Rider Performance Analyst', to reflect his increasing focus on rider coaching.

Lorenzo and Zeelenberg won three world titles and 43 races by the time the Spaniard left for Ducati in 2017.

Zeelenberg chose to remain at Yamaha and work with Vinales, who made a perfect start to his M1 career during winter testing and then wins in three of the opening five races. But over a year later and Vinales is yet to win again, causing obvious tension with the team and rumours of personnel changes for 2019.

Jarvis certainly didn’t dampen the speculation that Zeelenberg will be running the SIC team.

"If Wilco decides to go there, he would go there with our blessing," Jarvis said. "Because obviously if it's a brand-new team then having people involved in the team that have a strong connection with Yamaha - experience with Yamaha, experience in the sport - is very important.

"So if Wilco may chose to take an opportunity in that way, we would certainly not hold him back and it would be an advantage for the team."

Would you advise him to do that?

"This may sound strange, but I always advise every person that works for me; if a better opportunity comes along, where you can grow your career, you can expand your let's say professional activities, take it.

"Because that's what you have to do in your life. The worst thing you can do is hold somebody back, restrict or prevent somebody from doing things. Because it doesn't work. It might work for three months but it certainly doesn't help you in the relationship with that person in the long term.

"So if he feels it's good for him to do that, then why not? It would be an interesting challenge for him. So if the team offers him that job then I think that's something that he should definitely consider."

The older specification of the Tech3 machines has been a major talking point over the years and, while not disclosing which specification SIC has chosen, Jarvis indicated they were given the option to have the latest machines:

"Money talks! The decision on the satellite bikes is depending entirely upon the budget and the decision of the satellite team. We've given them different options. They have an 'A' option and a 'B' option. And they've placed their order. So you'll see in January what they ordered."

Jarvis named January because that will be the SIC team's first test with the machinery it will use in the 2019 World Championship. The team will run the present Tech3 bikes during its debut at the November tests.