Maverick Vinales has explained the reasons behind his decision to stay at Yamaha on an extended factory contract which ties him to the team until at the end of 2022.

Fresh from unveiling Monster Yamaha’s 2020 MotoGP colours at Sepang ahead of the pre-season test, Vinales’s new contract became the first in a series of headline-grabbing rider deals from Yamaha culminating in Fabio Quartararo effectively replacing Valentino Rossi at the factory team from 2021 with Jorge Lorenzo hired as test rider for this year.

With Vinales becoming the focal point of Yamaha’s shake-up, the Spaniard says he has “three opportunities to win the title” after settling his future with the Iwata factory.

The 25-year-old is Yamaha’s only MotoGP race-winner over the past two-and-a-half years and since overhauling his pit crew he feels confident of a title attack with the upgrades arriving from Yamaha midway through last season.

Despite his positivity, Vinales freely admits his decision to stay at Yamaha wasn’t clear-cut especially with reported interest from Ducati.

“It was not easy. Because I needed to clarify many points from Yamaha, which in previous years I didn’t feel very good,” Vinales said. “But finally, I felt good in Yamaha, I felt a lot of support from Yamaha in the last month and especially after the summer break. Which I also changed a little bit my mentality and my positiveness into good results.

“For sure it was difficult, but I think that now we have created a strong team. Every member counts a lot for me, and this makes a lot of weight in my decision, my young team.

“We created a good atmosphere, which I didn't want to break, because I feel really good inside the team, and I enjoy racing, which is most important. And that was one of the biggest reasons why I stayed in Yamaha.

“It was very important for me to have my own team, because I felt really good. Now all the people I have inside the team understand what I need, so we are communicating very well, and we are in a good way. I never had that in previous years. Last year we created that, and I think this year I feel much more ready than in previous years.”

With his future sorted, Vinales has turned the spotlight on his own performances as he looks to extract the maximum from Yamaha’s updated M1 with a new engine specification aimed at delivering greater power and top speed.

“When I finished the championship, this year is a good opportunity for me,” Vinales explained. “Because we have improved a lot, I have my team, and I am fully committed to be able to fight for the championship. I feel now that I’m ready. Physically, mentally, with the team, I think we can do it.

“I was not thinking too much about whether to leave or to stay, I was just focusing on myself, trying to be better. To be around the people who will help me improve, and I was not really thinking about moving or not moving teams.

“I felt good support from Yamaha and we went to the factory, we saw very positive things, and after we signed the contract.

“And now I have three opportunities to win the title, to try as hard as I can. So I’m going to take advantage of this, and we’re going to be fully committed to do it.”

 

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