Yamaha have undoubtedly been the most active company on the market in recent months, completing their line-up for 2021 a year in advance, and signing Jorge Lorenzo for the test team. But behind a big manufacturer there are obviously great men like Lin Jarvis, the managing director who physically carried out and concluded these operations. On the sidelines of the aforementioned negotiations there were obviously also those with Valentino Rossi, the most demanding according to Jarvis himself.
“The toughest negotiations were the ones with Valentino, since his choice to postpone any decision on his future, which we absolutely understand, had consequences. Faced with this situation, Yamaha could not assure him of a future in the factory team, but as we said if Valentino wants to continue, he will have full support from the manufacturer."
The other negotiations surrounded by media hype were the ones that brought Jorge Lorenzo back to Yamaha, albeit in the role of tester.
"The primary mission of Jorge and the ‘European’ test team will be to carry on the work done in Japan by Japanese engineers and testers. The work of the latter will continue as before, with the difference that when there is something new and useful to test, we can try it immediately on a world championship track, with a rider who has the experience and speed of those racing in the championship."
Jarvis does not hide how much trust he puts in the new (or old) member of the Yamaha family, who has the right speed to immediately understand the strengths and weaknesses of the M1, a rider who was ‘yanked’ away from another team manager with an enviable pedigree like Alberto Puig.
"We may have quick answers, which will make up for the few days of testing available for the official riders: one of the weak points of the Japanese manufacturers is their geographical location, as they are rarely able to test on a world championship track, and the work we are carrying out aims to improve this aspect. Puig angry? I don't know why he should be, I spoke separately with Jorge when it was time, and then we don't actually talk much between the MotoGP team managers (laughs)."
It is impossible not to mention the possibility of a wild card when we talk about JL99. An option that has not been ruled out by both parties, but which should come about in the right way if it does.
"We talked about this, it could be an option for both us and Jorge. Jorge's main mission is to develop the bike, so if he were to do a wild card, we would choose a track that can be useful for our main purpose. Jorge needs to feel comfortable and should he feel as fast as he wants to be, doing a wild-card race shouldn’t be ruled out."
Audio recording by Paolo Scalera