With multi-time champ Jorge Lorenzo leaving the team for Ducati, one might assume that Yamaha will be in a weakened state this year. Instead, with the addition of ascendant young phenom Maverick Viñales, and promising improvements to the 2017 bike, Yamaha’s MotoGP effort this year could be even stronger.
The most important development might be the interaction between Viñales and Valentino Rossi during testing of the 2017 bike. Viñales and Rossi seem calm and relaxed around each other, according to reports, and even more importantly they are drawing the same conclusions about how to improve the new bike for this year.
It was no secret that there was tension in the paddock between former teammates Rossi and Lorenzo, and that their different riding styles frequently led to significant differences in how they liked the Yamaha prepared by the factory, as well as their individual set-up at different tracks.
So far, after testing at both Valencia and Sepang (a total of four days between the two locations), Rossi and Viñales reportedly had identical feedback on the new bike, as well as identical suggestions as to how to move development forward. Needless to say, this circumstance could prove invaluable for Yamaha this year as the 2017 bike is apparently presenting a very good starting point during early tests.
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