PARIS: Maverick Vinales was rewarded on Thursday by Yamaha for a promising first season with a two year contract extension.
The Spanish rider moved to the Japanese manufacturer last season from Suzuki and won three races on his way to third in the 2017 MotoGP title race won by Marc Marquez.
“Yamaha is confident in their partnership with the 23-year-old Spaniard and looks forward to being a serious title contender in 2018 and the following two seasons,” the team announced at its 2018 launch.
Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis described Vinales “as a real asset”.
“He’s full of motivation and never loses sight of his goals,” added Jarvis.
“The 2017 season wasn’t easy, yet he has already delivered Yamaha three race wins and secured the manufacturer its 500th Grand Prix win in his first year with us.”
Jarvis said the deal taking in the 2019 and 2020 seasons shows “a reciprocal confidence that together we can achieve our mutual goal of becoming MotoGP World Champions”.
Vinales said: “We will be pushing to the maximum at all the Grands Prix and I look forward to three more incredible seasons together!”
The 2013 Moto3 champion took wins in Qatar, Argentina and France last year to wind up with 230 points in the overall standings, with his legendary Italian teammate Valentino Rossi in fifth after an injury-interrupted campaign on 208 points.