Rossi and Vinales unveil 2017 MotoGP contender

Paul Taylor
By Paul Taylor
platinum_paul ex-BikeSocial Production Editor turned freelancer. Worked in bike industry for 15 years, gets fatter and slower every year. Unhealthy obsession with Honda C90s, top boxes and small bikes.
Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi

Yamaha today lifted the wraps off the YZR-M1 with which Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales will contest the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.

In a glitzy presentation held at team sponsor Telefonica’s Madrid headquarters the factory Yamaha squad, which will again compete under the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP banner, debuted an updated livery that is similar to 2016’s colourscheme, except for a slightly deeper blue main colour and a new-for-2017 Movistar logo.

Yamaha did not go into detail regarding differences between the 2017 and 2016 iterations of the YZR-M1, which has lost the aerodynamic wings that were banned at the end of last season, however the ceremony did represent Maverick Vinales’ first official public appearance as a Yamaha rider.

Speaking at the event, Vinales said: “After the test in Valencia and Malaysia I got off the bike feeling very happy because I was on the level I wanted to be at. The whole Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team can’t wait to start the season because we know we can be at a 100% level and compete at the front. Today we revealed the bike and it looks beautiful, I wish I could start riding it right now! When I was a kid, I used to watch Valentino riding his M1 and now I’m here at the team launch, it’s like a dream come true! I’m so happy and motivated and I’m ready to give it my all. I want to thank Yamaha, Movistar and of course the team. They have welcomed me very warmly, so it is a great start to the season already. Honestly speaking, I was quite surprised by the family-feel, because on the outside you see a very serious and professional team, but as soon as I went inside the box I felt incredible. I’m really pleased to be here, at Telefónica Headquarters in Madrid, and thanks to everyone for coming to support us. It’s going to be a great year!”

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi remained as enthusiastic as ever ahead of his 22nd season in the Grand Prix paddock, adding: “After the winter break, the team launch is always a very exciting time for everybody, not only for us, the riders and the team, but also for the fans. Sincerely, I’m just as happy as they are to start the new season, I have missed riding my bike. The pre-season test in Sepang will be an interesting moment, we will get a good idea of our level and it’s also the first time I’ll get to take the YZR-M1 out on track in its 2017 colours. This is the fourth year that Movistar will be our team’s title sponsor. In the last three years, we enjoyed some fantastic battles and great results and this season the target remains the same: to be competitive again and fight for the victory in every race. I have a new strong teammate and I think we can have a lot of fun this season.”

Yamaha are the first of the 2017 factory MotoGP squads to unveil their livery, with Ducati set to reveal the Desmosedicis that will be ridden by Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso at a launch event in Bologna tomorrow. 

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