A large part of the 2019 MotoGP starting grid has already been defined in recent weeks, with a series of signings including Lorenzo at Honda, Petrucci at Ducati and the news of Iannone's move to Aprilia. Joan Mir is yet to be confirmed in Suzuki, an announcement expected, but for the rest there are very few seats remaining.
Still to be defined in fact is the situation regarding at least two teams and a potential new-entry. What connects all of this are the highly-desirable Yamaha M1 bikes currently managed by Tech3, the team all set to move to two factory KTM RC-16 machines as of 2019.
Many parties are in fact interested in managing these bike and Lin Jarvis clarified Yamaha's current position during an interview with Speedweek, during which he explained why plans for the future are not yet defined.
The big boss of Yamaha Racing analysed the situation regarding Marc VDS and Aspar as well as a possible new-entry supported by sponsor Petronas; Jorge Lorenzo's name had been mentioned a possible rider for this project in fact.
"Jorge is one of few world champions currently active in MotoGP. He has won five title, so effort has been made to keep him on the grid, as we've seen - explains Jarvis - Could he have ridden for a customer Yamaha team? Of course! If a team had signed him, why not? He's undoubtedly a fast rider. When we have a customer team, we evaluate rider quality as well as the team itself. As for Jorge, we wouldn't have had to think twice".
As for the future of the satellite Yamaha team, Team Marc VDS had always appeared to be the outfit most likely to inherit the M1s from Tech3. "Right now, we're waiting, I can't say more than that. Following Tech3's decision to leave Yamaha after 2018, we've spoken with various teams. We had negotiated most with Marc VDS, for us it was the best candidate".
The situation changed after the problems began between Marc Van Der Straten and Michael Bartholemy: "between Jerez and Le Mans, there was a breakdown of this plan , the whole situation changed. There were uncertainties and the future of Marc VDS was no longer guaranteed. We waited and are still waiting. Now we are waiting for the team to compete in this season's remaining races, but I'm not interested in what it's doing in 2018. I'm interested in the future. For now, it's unclear in terms of MotoGP. First the situation needs to be clarified, then we'll evaluate whether it is still a candidate to be a customer Yamaha team".
Rumours regarding the interest of both Petronas and the Sepang circuit in a project involving Yamaha have been circulating for weeks, but Jarvis specifies that this scenario is far from defined: "They are not just rumours, but facts. The two sponsors would be Sepang Circuit and Petronas. What's lacking is a place for the team. Riders are lacking too, in that Lorenzo and Iannone have chosen Honda and Aprilia. There is no solid plan as yet", the manager underlines.
"We need to wait and see how the situation evolves for our customer team. Whether it's Marc VDS or someone else. We would like to have four bikes on the grid, we've never made that a secret. This is our idea. If it doesn't happen in 2019, it won't be the end of the world. Next year we can just have two bikes and then evaluate the situation".
The third element, after Marc VDS and Petronas-SIC, is represented by Jorge Martinez's Aspar outfit and the rumours that would see him involved in the project. In this sense, Jarvis is concise: "We've not been contacted by Aspar Martinez".
With the collaboration of Marco Caregnato