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Valentino Rossi & Maverick Viñales pre-season team launch

Renewed 2018 MotoGP challenge for Yamaha

Jan 252018

The Matadero Madrid, an old abattoir that is now a reformed cultural space, was the site of the 2018 presentation of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team this week and both Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales are hoping to be the ones holding a blade to the competition in the nineteen round Grand Prix series to come.

Bathed in blue and speaking in front of media, guests and dignitaries in the capital city both the Italian and the Spaniard looked in firm trim and chatted of their eagerness to commence testing with the first outing this week at Sepang in Malaysia, followed by sessions in Thailand and Qatar in February.

“Testing is very important because we can normally see how the season will go,” Rossi said, before admitting that he’d trained as hard as possible in the winter while leaving “a bit of a margin”; a remark in reference to the two dirt-bikes injuries he sustained in 2017.


#46 and #25 unveiled the 2018 M1 motorcycle that cuts a darker, more menacing shade and will be the tools for Rossi’s 23rd season in the FIM World Championship (and sixth in a row in his second stint with Yamaha) and Viñales’ second; although the recently-turned 23 year old used the occasion to announce the signing of another two year agreement with the Iwata firm.

“There is pressure this year to be fast and on a maximum level but this kind of pressure is always positive,” MV smiled and commented to the presenters. “My objective is the same; to be ready from the first race and to be always on the podium. We have learned from our mistakes last year and we will always try to improve. About the new contract: I really did not see any reason to make a change and I feel very good and very comfortable in this team.”


Rossi admitted that he has spoken with Yamaha about a new deal but re-iterated his desire to wait until the opening few rounds before making a decision on his future, although signs and comments during and after proceedings in Madrid indicated that the Italian is close to confirming his presence in MotoGP for some time yet. “I want to wait, especially for the tests, and maybe the first three races overseas,” the 38 year old (39 in February) said. “But we are quite ready and I don't think we need to discuss a lot about the contract. So we are positive and optimistic. We are not in a rush. And I think we will say something after the first races.”