NEW SPONSOR: The Yamaha Movistar team will be adding the Vietnamese flag to its livery for 2017. Image: AFP / Pierre-Philippe Marcou
Cape Town - In addition to the changes on the new 2017 MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1, the bikes of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales will get a touch of red and gold.
The Movistar Yamaha team have announced that a Vietnamese flag will be added onto their new challengers in appreciation for their fans from the Asian country.
Kouichi Tsuji, general manager motorsports division for Yamaha said: “For the riders, this is the first time visiting Vietnam and we are very pleased with the warm welcome that both riders received. It is a good message sent by Yamaha Motor Vietnam and the local fans, that they support Yamaha and the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team."
Tsuji added: "For this reason, we will adopt the flag of Vietnam on the bike this year, with the hopes that this activity will further increase the popularity of MotoGP racing in Vietnam. We highly value the Asian market and the passion that they have for motorsports and Yamaha. The main goal of this tour was to further build on our relationship, both with the Yamaha dealers and the fans, so we can all look forward to sharing many great moments during another exciting season of MotoGP.”
READ: Yamaha revealed its 2017 YZR M1
The Movistar Yamaha team visited Thailand and Vietnam as part of the second half of their Asian media tour after they had visited Indonesia and the Philippines. It was during a press meeting where the riders got to add the flag to their bikes - as a token of appreciation for Yamaha Motor Vietnam’s support to the team.
Chasing yet another premier class championship, Valentino Rossi, who turns 38 this week, will be competing in his 16th MotoGP season. Rossi has been a stalwart for Yamaha for a large part of his career and could be in his final season of the sport. He would want to end it on a high.
Rossi said: “It's amazing how many people are on the move with scooters [in Vietnam]! The day organised by Yamaha Vietnam was very nice and it made me realise how much passion there is also in this place for the bikes. I'll gladly go back to Vietnam in the future. I also hope that in the future some Vietnamese riders will be able to become professional riders!"
READ: Viñales and Rossi complete promotional tour in Thailand and Vietnam
Maverick Vinales replaces three-time MotoGP champion, Jorge Lorenzo, at Yamaha. Vinales has started his Yamaha career off on a good note as he finished first in both pre-season tests in Valencia and Sepang.
Vinales said: “The people [in Asia] are so friendly and passionate about MotoGP and this gives me extra motivation to do them proud on the track. Today I also had a lot of fun in Vietnam, especially when I got to ride the Yamaha Exciter scooter on a short circuit with Valentino. I love to do these kinds of events, playing around on the bike and sharing the experience with the fans.”
Rearing to go!
The Yamaha team will be making their way to Australia for the final test days at the Phillip Island circuit before the start of the 2017 MotoGP season in Qatar on March 20. Both Yamaha riders are excited to get the final tests from 15-17 February underway.
Rossi said: “Now we leave to go to Australia where we will have three days of important testing. I’ll be very happy to be back aboard my M1 again; I can’t wait to continue testing.”
Vinales added: “I couldn’t have asked for a better end to the promotional tour. I will now focus on the test in Australia, because I’m impatient to ride my M1 again.”
Technical facts on Yamaha’s YZR M1:
• 1000cc four-cylinder engine
• Aliminium chassis
• Carbon brakes
• 150kg weight
• 350km/h top speed
• Reach and lean angles of 60 degrees