Yamaha’s next big thing?
One big question mark that remains to be answered if Lorenzo does switch to Ducati is who exactly would step in to take over from him at Yamaha. With so many riders out of contract, Yamaha would have the pick of the grid. A key factor is likely to be finances. With title sponsor Movistar set to remain with the Yamaha team, it looks almost certain that a Spanish rider would be favoured to replace Lorenzo.
The team will also be after someone young and full of promise; someone they can use to build an order of succession for Rossi’s almostinevitable departure in two years time.
And the perfect candidate already exists in the form of Suzuki rider Maverick Viñales. Tipped by Rossi himself as the next big thing, the young Spaniard is still far from the finished article – but already he has shown that he has the pace to run at the front on a developing Suzuki.
With nurturing from experienced Yamaha bosses Lin Jarvis and Massimo Meregalli, and also with Rossi to learn from, it would be the perfect place for Viñales to mature into a bona fide Motogp alien.