Yamaha is confident it can convince Pol Espargaro that he has a long-term future with the Japanese manufacturer, despite denying the highly rated Spaniard a factory YZR-M1 chance until 2017 at the earliest.
The former Moto2 world champion joined the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad for 2014 in the hope of securing a factory YZR-M1 switch for next season.
But the door was slammed shut in his face, with Yamaha signing new two-year deals with both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo earlier this season.
Espargaro attracted interest from Suzuki and Ducati for next season, as he had a clause in his existing deal that permitted him to leave Tech 3 after just one season.
But Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis said he fully intends to secure Espargaro on a new deal beyond 2015 and he told MCN: “It depends what his other options are after next season. I believe Pol is an intelligent rider and at this moment if you really want to be in the top group you need a HRC contract or a Yamaha Factory Racing contract and if there is a lock out there then that’s not an option. Then you look at the next best options. Maybe it will be one of the new entries. Suzuki showed interest in him for 2015 and he chose to stay where he is because that is the right thing to do for his career right now. Will he choose to go down that route? I don’t know. Ducati has also been interested, so nobody can predict what his options could be in 2016. I would like to see Pol stay with Yamaha but I don’t know how we would be able to make that work but let’s see. He is doing well and he still has a lot to learn and I would like to see him stay within our group and be highly competitive.”