Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales were on hand to unveil the new Yamaha Factory Racing YZF-M1’s for 2018.
The focus of the 2018 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Presentation event was to celebrate the start of the new Championship season. Masters of Ceremonies, Izaskun Ruiz and Dylan Gray, presented the launch and welcomed new Yamaha Motor Racing President and General Manager of Motorsports Development Division, Kouichi Tsuji on stage for a Q&A session. Tsuju shed light on how Yamaha is working on pushing the limits, before Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director Massimo Meregalli came onstage to discuss the 2018 preparations and how the team aims to rise to the challenges ahead.
Kouichi Tsuji, General Manager Motorsports Division at Yamaha Motor Company said: “We are honoured to start the fifth year with our title sponsor Movistar – a brand that has great heritage in the MotoGP championship. We enjoyed really important and very positive moments in the first four years of our collaboration. This year we launched the new 2018 bike in Madrid again, close to the home of Telefónica Spain. From this moment on we begin a new season, with a fresh livery and an updated team logo, to highlight the union between Yamaha and Movistar as well as to mark the beginning of this new chapter. We are very fortunate to have two incredibly talented riders in our team. Both Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales have a very strong bond with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team. I’m sure that, together with their crews – but also thanks to the support of the sponsors, partners, and fans – they will be able to fight competitively for race wins. They can be assured that everybody involved in this project is committed to helping them achieve their goals, so we’re ready to challenge together for victory in 2018.”
The next guest speakers were nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi and former Moto3 World Champion Maverick Viñales, who are no strangers to pushing boundaries and breaking records. Rossi is Yamaha’s most successful rider and is determined for 2018, as he enters a sixth consecutive year with Yamaha Factory Racing since his return to the manufacturer in 2013. With a total of 115 Grand Prix victories written to his name, this year he’ll be gearing up once more for his quest to secure a tenth World Title. Viñales made waves on his first year with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team. He joined the Factory Yamaha crew after gaining two years of experience in the premier class and was quick to make a name for himself, securing third place in the overall rider standings in his first year with Yamaha.
Rossi and Viñales proudly presented their new bikes with a refreshed livery. Besides a revamped Movistar logo, the “Movistar M” design element on the bike is now white, making it blend in perfectly with Yamaha Factory Racing’s aesthetics.
Valentino Rossi said: “I had a great time today! The team presentation is special every year, also for me, because when you see your bike in the new colours, you start to feel excited. During the winter break I always miss riding my M1, and after seeing it today I want to ride it as soon as possible. I only have to wait a few more days! Sincerely, I’m looking forward to starting the new season. Last year, I had one win and six podiums, but also some problems and injuries. We want to make our fifth year with Movistar memorable, so this year we will be pushing as hard as we can. The test in Sepang will be important. It’s the first opportunity for my guys to get together this year, which will be fun, but we’ll soon get serious, because we want to get an idea of our level as soon as possible.”
Maverick Viñales said: “After more than two months of waiting, we are finally kicking off the new season. I’ve been working hard to prepare for the start of the new season and I’m looking forward to riding my M1 again. The bike, the new colour scheme, and also the new team logo look good, so judging by the looks of the team, we are ready to begin testing. Last year we had a really strong start at the first few rounds and we finished third in the championship. This year we’ll try to improve on what we did last year. We have a really good team, so I think it’s only natural that we aim for the win in every race and ultimately for the championship title, but of course we’ll only achieve this if we stay focused every session and push as hard as we can. We’ll be giving the 2018 bike a try in Sepang in a few days’ time, which is also where we held our last test of 2017. We’ll use that data to start the season in the best way possible. The first time you start the engine and hear the sound of your new bike is something special – it will be the sound of the new season. I’m looking forward to a great year!”