Maverick Vinales has explained his decision to secure his Yamaha future early having signed a two-year renewal deal for 2021 and 2022 before the start of the upcoming MotoGP campaign.

The Spaniard has become the first key rider to decide his MotoGP future beyond 2020 by agreeing a contract renewal as a factory Yamaha rider until the end of 2022.

It follows the same trend which saw Vinales commit to his previous Yamaha contract in January 2018, covering the 2019 and 2020 seasons, which was announced at the team’s season launch in Madrid.

Vinales says settling his MotoGP future so early into the year was a key motivation behind his new deal in order to avoid unwanted distractions for the upcoming MotoGP campaign. The Spaniard also feels he has “my own team” at Yamaha following a successful first year with new crew chief Esteban Garcia and Rider Coach Julian Simon.

“I’m extremely happy because I feel like I get to keep ‘my own team’,” Vinales said. “This will be the second year with my current crew, and after this I have two more years to look forward to.

“I’m so excited. I think that if we keep working really hard we are heading the right way. For me, it was very important to make this announcement before the season started, because I’m highly motivated and want to be able to fully concentrate on the 2020 season. I don’t want to spend too much time thinking about the future.

“There were no reasons not to stay with Yamaha, because they feel like family. Yamaha is giving me a lot of support and, as I said, I have ’my own team‘, which is something I really need.”

Vinales has duly confirmed his sole focus is on becoming MotoGP world champion with Yamaha and returning the title to the Iwata factory for the first time since 2015 when Jorge Lorenzo secured the crown over Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi.

“We need to keep working and be very strong. Our main objective is, as always, to be World Champion and try to bring Yamaha the number one honour again. I will try my best,” he said.

“I will give everything I have to make our team proud too. I would like to say ‘Thank you’ to Yamaha for their faith in me. They are giving me a lot of confidence, and I really have trust in our partnership. I think we will both be growing very fast and we will keep pushing.”

After an impressive maiden year at Yamaha having switched from Suzuki in 2017, Vinales endured a trickier 2018 which resulted in the axing of Roman Forcada as crew chief while Wilco Zeelenberg left as Rider Coach to head up the Petronas Yamaha SRT satellite team.

Vinales claimed third place in the standings and top Yamaha honours last year with the highlights of wins at Assen and Sepang.

Focus will now turn to the factory Yamaha spot alongside Vinales for 2021 which is currently held by Valentino Rossi. The nine-time world champion is assessing his own future in MotoGP beyond this season, while Fabio Quartararo is linked to a promotion to the factory Yamaha team if Rossi decides to retire.

 

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