YAHAMA MotoGP boss Lin Jarvis says the relationship between his team’s new pairing of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales is “like a breath of fresh air.”
Viñales arrives from Suzuki in 2017 to replace Jorge Lorenzo, the three-time MotoGP champion who spent nine seasons at Yamaha, including seven at-times acrimonious campaigns alongside Rossi.
During his first two seasons in the premier class, Viñales fostered a good relationship with Rossi, which Jarvis says has been “excellent” since the Spaniard started testing with Yamaha at Valencia last November.
“Last year, they already nurtured a little bit of a relationship together,” he said. “You don’t have this animosity between two riders and that’s really good, it’s like a breath of fresh air, frankly, at the moment.”
Viñales led the way in MotoGP’s official tests at Valencia and last week at Sepang, where Jarvis noted he was also quickest in a private Yamaha session last November.
Rossi finished the Sepang test with the sixth-fastest time, but within 0.221 seconds of the benchmark set by his new teammate.
The veteran has tipped Viñales as a title challenger in 2017, and Jarvis concedes the healthy and open relationship between the two could change if they are fighting for the championship.
“Let’s see how long we can keep that going into the season,” he said. “But in the meantime we start with a great feeling in the garage.”