MotoGP: Jarvis: I thought I had signed a champion

Published: 14 April 2017

Yamaha MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis has told MCN that while he knew that Maverick Viñales had potential last year when he signed the young Spaniard to replace three-time champion Jorge Lorenzo – but conceded that even then he didn’t expect such stunning form so soon.

“For sure it was a possibility that he could be a title challenger – you could see last year that he had talent, he had age on his side, and he had two years of experience on his side. I thought he could be a challenger, but did I think he could win the first two races? No, not really! But he proved to everyone that he’s got what it takes, and we’re quite happy!”

And while Viñales’ performance at the front of the field might have been impressive in itself, it was only the peak of an almost-perfect weekend for the manufacturer, taking maximum points in team and constructers’ awards and seeing rookies Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger finish inside the top six in only their second race – something Jarvis ascribes to the easy nature of the M1.

“It seems to be a bike that doesn’t have anything vicious about it, that doesn’t have any surprises and that won’t catch you out. Some of our competitors’ bikes can be very quick, but you have to be careful with them, and at the minute that’s our great benefit.”

His sentiments were echoed by Movistar Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli, delighted with a perfect weekend for his own duo on the factory bikes.

“I love Argentina more and more…! The team can be really proud of the show they put on. Maverick delivered again! He gave an incredible performance, from the start all the way to the end and was in complete control of the race. Looking at the timesheet, you understand that he managed the race in a perfect way, never giving his rivals the chance to close the gap.

“Valentino really brought things around this afternoon. He had another strong ride, from further back on the grid, and showed he can always ride over the difficulties on race day. It hasn‘t been an easy weekend for him, but he always worked hard to find solutions and his efforts speak for themselves when you see today‘s results.

“We have capitalised on our major competitors' misfortunes with this amazing 1-2 podium. It was another demonstration of power by Maverick; a great end to Valentino‘s 350th Grand Prix start and this 1-2 finish also brings Yamaha its 499th victory. We are already looking forward to the next round in Austin!”