NEW CHALLENGE: Maverick Vinales will move to Yamaha from Suzuki for the 2017 and 2018 MotoGP seasons. Image: AP / David Vincent
Paris, France - Highly-rated Maverick Vinales will ride for Yamaha for the 2017 and 2018 seasons replacing world champion Jorge Lorenzo, the Japanese team announced on Thursday (May 19).
Vinales, who currently races for Suzuki and lies fifth in the MotoGP Championship standings, will partner nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi, whose contract renewal was already announced in March 2016.
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He will replace three-times champion Lorenzo who is leaving Yamaha for Ducati where he will partner Andrea Dovizioso.
Vinales, 21, made his World Championship debut in 2011 in the 125cc Class.
His racing career highlights include winning the Moto3 World Championship in 2013 as well as three 'Rookie of the Year' awards in 2011 (125cc), 2014 (Moto2) and 2015 (MotoGP).
Meanwhile, Italy's Andrea Iannone will leave Ducati for Suzuki as Vinales's replacement, it was announced later Thursday.
Iannone was fifth in the 2015 world championship, making the podium on three occasions.