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More information has come through this morning about the merry-go-round in MotoGP and it makes for interesting reading.

As Morebikes told you yesterday, the deal for Maverick Vinales (above) to become Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha team-mate for 2017 and 2018 has been done. It’s signed away and will be announced officially on Thursday this week ahead of this weekend’s Italian MotoGP round at Mugello. So far, so much you already now by reading what Morebikes writes – but now some more information has surfaced via our sources that say that the deal was actually done last Friday when Vinales flew to Milan to put his name on the dotted line.

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The deal for the current Suzuki man was done at Yamaha Motor Racing headquarters in Gerno di Lesmo near Monza.

 

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That makes the timing of yesterday’s announcement by Honda, that Dani Pedrosa (above) would be riding for the Honda factory, remaining as a Repsol rider, for another two years, all the more understandable. Friday would have been when Pedrosa (the other rider in the Yamaha cross-hairs for the seat vacated by Jorge Lorenzo who is off to Ducati next year) was told that Vinales had signed and taken the Yamaha seat, as a result the Honda deal would have been pushed through quickly once Pedrosa told Honda that he wanted to stay and once the signature was dry the announcement was made

This also makes sense because it gives enough ‘publicity’ time between the announcements around both Pedrosa and Vinales. Pedrosa’s future is explained on Monday, Thursday for Vinales and the rest of the pieces can fall where they may. That’s plenty of time for each of the two main camps involved to get all the column inches and headlines it wants for the deals done.

And whilst Morebikes told you yesterday that Alex Rins was now being talked about for the vacant Suzuki role left by Vinales, the paddock is now awash with rumour that it’s Andrea Iannone (below) who is now in hurry-up talks with the blue bike squad after he was told last night that he is out of Ducati next year.

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This is quite a development in things because for the past couple of weeks many theories about who is leaving Ducati for next year have surfaced. The two current riders of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone have been duking it out on track with Iannone publicly cocking up more times than his team-mate (and supposedly not doing his chances of staying in the Italian team much good), but even with these factors coming into play there’s been some talk of Ducati running a three-man squad in 2017/18 which would include the newcomer Jorge AND the two Andreas.

But if the paddock grapevine’s overnight chatter is to be believed then it now seems as though Iannone has been told to look for another ride for next year. And with the Suzuki seat going begging Iannone is apparently focusing on that as his prime option for 2017. However, he might not get it all his own way. Right from the outset of the Vinales-will-he-won’t-he saga has been Alex Rins (below) waiting in the wings.

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Rins currently leads the Moto2 championship after taking his second 2016 win in the junior class at the last round in France. The Paginas Amarillas HP 40 rider has made no attempt to hide his desire to progress to the current MotoGP championship and is being widely tipped to end up on the Suzuki at some point. Another name in the wings for a Suzuki berth however is Johann Zarco (below) – the 10-times race winner in the smaller classes has already been confirmed as being given a Suzuki MotoGP test ride later this year in Japan and has also been named as riding for Suzuki in the hugely-important Suzuka 8-hour race also.

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That alone puts Zarco, who is currently third in the Moto2 championship on the Ajo Motorsport Kalex bike, in prime position for one of the Suzukis – and that means that the Suzuki squad could eventually made up of Andrea Iannone and Zarco, leaving Aleix Espargaro (below) out of the Suzuki squad and looking for a ride for next year and Rins either running a third Suzuki in his own team or being placed elsewhere with another manufacturer.

We’ll keep you posted as more info becomes available.

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Tony Carter

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