What next for Yamaha?

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With the news that reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo will move to Ducati for the 2017 season, one big question mark that remains to be answered in the aftermath of the move is who exactly shall step in to take over from him at Yamaha.

But, with many pieces of the puzzle able to be popped into place, it’s possible to at least work out a shortlist for the role.

One key component is finances. With title sponsor Movistar set to remain with the team, it looks almost certain that a Spanish rider would be favoured to replace Lorenzo.

The team will also be after someone young and full of promise; someone they can use to build an order of succession for the aftermath of Rossi’s almost-inevitable departure in two years time.

And the perfect candidate already exists in the form of Suzuki rider Maverick Viñales. Tipped by Rossi himself as the next big thing, the young Spaniard is still far from the finished article – but even then has shown that he has the pace to run at podium pace.

Placed into the Yamaha squad under the nurturing of experienced bosses Lin Jarvis and Massimo Meregalli, and with the watchful eye of Rossi looking over him, it would be the perfect place for Viñales to mature into a bona fide MotoGP alien.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer