It wasn't part of the official press conference (pictured), but speaking on the sidelines shortly afterwards Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis confirmed that two key members of the factory team will join the Petronas-Sepang MotoGP project.

As rumoured, Wilco Zeelenberg is to switch from 'Rider Performance Analyst' with Maverick Vinales to become Team Manager for the new satellite Yamaha team, which has signed Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo as its riders.

The Dutchman will be joined by renowned crew chief Ramon Forcada, who is to work with Morbidelli after completing this season with Vinales.

The combination of Zeelenberg, Forcada and Jorge Lorenzo won three MotoGP titles and 43 races before the Spaniard left Yamaha for Ducati. Zeelenberg and Forcada then chose to stay and work with Vinales, who won three of his opening five races in 2017.

But over a year later and Vinales is yet to win again (with Yamaha likewise winless since Valentino Rossi's 2017 victory at Assen) causing obvious tension and recent confirmation that Forcada will be replaced by Esteban Garcia next year.

"I think it's crucial to have a good level of support, so we fully supported having Ramon in the team," Jarvis said.

"When the choice was made within our [factory] team to not retain Ramon for next year, we of course immediately wanted him to come here. So I'm very happy that the Sepang team were able to agree terms with Ramon, and I think Ramon is motivated for this new challenge. So that's great.

"Wilco will be the team manager, and I think that's an optimum choice as well. Wilco, when he joined us many years ago, was our team manager when we had two team managers at that stage [one for Lorenzo, one for Rossi], and he ran with Jorge for many years and won championships together, with Ramon as well.

"So I think that it's a great choice for their team. Wilco knows inside-out, not only the sport and what it takes to be a winning team, but he knows Yamaha. And I think that for a brand-new team, which is piecing together from scratch, it's really very important to have these two pillars they can rely on.

"We will try to help them as well with as much advice as we can, because it's in our mutual interest to get them up to speed.

"As far as the other staff... With the Marc VDS team not existing in MotoGP next year, there's an optimum choice. Plus of course the Aspar team, with the changes there. So there are a lot of very highly-skilled people [available] in the paddock and I think they'll have a strong team."

Diego Gubellini, current crew chief for Morbidelli at Marc VDS Honda, will be crew chief for rookie Quartararo.

The French youngster will have a 2018 (Valencia) spec M1 compared to a 2019-spec bike for Morbidelli.

Johan Stigefelt, team manager of the present SIC Moto3 and Moto2 entries, is to become team director in overall charge of next year's Sepang MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and MotoE projects.

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