MotoGP: Monster Energy Yamaha's 2021 colours unveiled
The factory Monster Energy Yamaha team has officially revealed its 2021 MotoGP livery and presented its rider line-up to the world.
Yamaha's presentation was a virtual one, due to Covid-19, posted on the team's website, Facebook and YouTube pages. This year Maverick Viñales will be joined in the factory squad by Fabio Quartararo, who replaces nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi. Rossi heads in the other direction to Petronas Yamaha.
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The colour scheme of the 2021 factory Yamaha remains the same as last season, with the M1 covered in a predominantly black and blue paint job. The well-known Monster Energy logo keeps its prime location on the side of the bikes.
2021 marks Viñales' fifth campaign with Yamaha and, in theory, he becomes the team's number one following Rossi's departure. Viñales ended a tough 2020 campaign sixth overall after taking a single victory, at Misano, and two further podiums.
Like all Yamaha riders, Viñales' M1 struggled to get to grips with the Michelin tyres on a consistent basis. One weekend the bike would work perfectly, and results would be positive, whilst the next it would be a completely different story.
“Last year was a crazy year for all of us," Viñales admitted. "We have left that behind us now and we’ll focus on what’s to come. With the two tests in Sepang cancelled I will have to wait a bit longer to ride my YZR-M1 again. It’s a long winter break, so I’m feeling impatient to get to work, but in a good way.
"After having enjoyed some time of rest during the off-season, we are all excited to start work again. We don’t have a lot of testing opportunities – just the Qatar Test – so we will have to be on our A-game straight away.”
Quartararo moves to the factory team after two campaigns with the satellite team. The Frenchman won the opening two races last season and was tipped to run away with the title. However, he to struggled with the Michelin tyres and would only record one more victory, at Barcelona.
In fact, Quartararo failed to score any further podiums and finished outside of the top 10 on four occasions. He ended 2020 eighth overall, only five points behind his new teammate.
“I’m excited to start the new season, especially because I’m in a new team," Quartararo said. "It’s exciting to work with different people and learn new things. I’m looking forward to the Qatar Test – it can’t come soon enough! I’ll finally get to try my Monster Energy Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time.
"I’ve seen quite a lot of photoshopped versions of my number on the Factory Yamaha bike on social media, but – however well they are made – nothing compares to the feeling I got when I saw the real thing for the first time. I can’t wait to start riding!”
Despite Yamaha's tyre issues last season, they still managed to secure seven victories overall - more than any other manufacturer and their best since Michelin became the sole tyre supplier in MotoGP. However, six of those victories came from Petronas Yamaha's Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli.
Following his retirement at the end of last year Cal Crutchlow becomes the official test rider for Yamaha and will join Viñales and Quartararo at the official Qatar test in March. Crutchlow previously raced with the Tech3 Yamaha satellite team between 2011 and 2013.
"Last year, Yamaha was the most successful manufacturer in terms of GP wins, with seven victories in total, but we missed out on the Championship Title," team principal Lin Jarvis added.
"Our goal for this year is to win the MotoGP World Championship. With the arrival of Fabio paired with Maverick we have two title contenders on board and so we know what we need to do – win races and maintain consistency all season long. I believe with the improvements on the bike and the changes within our team we are ready to do just that. Let’s go racing!”
The 2021 MotoGP season, as it stands, will get underway at Qatar on March 28. The Losail International Circuit will also hold round two the following weekend and will be known as Grand Prix of Qatar.