The first jigsaw piece of the 2019 MotoGP grid has fallen into place as Maverick Viñales has confirmed he will stay with the Movistar Yamaha squad for two more years beyond 2018.

The young Catalan, who has designs on winning his first MotoGP world title in the months ahead, said he will stay with the Japanese manufacturer until 2020.

The former Moto3 world champion is the first of the leading factory names to confirm his place on next year’s MotoGP grid.

Viñales won three races with Yamaha at the beginning of 2017 and sustained a title challenge until the final four races, when fundamental problems with the ’17 M1 held him and team-mate Valentino Rossi back.

The news means he will spend at least four years with Yamaha after moving across to replace three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo for the '17 season.

Viñales entered the premier class with Suzuki, and after a promising rookie campaign, he placed a fantastic fourth overall in 2016. He went one place better in his first year with Yamaha, but was often frustrated by set-up issues.

He used the Movistar Yamaha launch in Madrid to reveal the news. When explaining his reasons for signing on for two more years, Viñales said, “The reasons are I feel really good inside the team.

“It’s something I like, something I want,” he said. “We arrived at a really good compromise. They make my dreams come true and let’s see if we can do something more this year.”


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