Suzuki MotoGP star Maverick Vinales has revealed he has been made offers by “nearly all the manufacturers” involved in the championship for the 2017 season.
Valentino Rossi’s two-year Yamaha contract extension, announced on the eve of the Qatar season opener, has fired the starting gun on the race for the top seats for next year, with nearly every rider out of contract.
Vinales in particular is viewed as one of the hottest properties on the rider market, having turned heads in his rookie season for Suzuki and topping two days of winter testing.
With Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha future not yet secure, Vinales is considered a leading contender to replace the reigning champion should be opt for a switch to Ducati, while the 21-year-old has also been linked to a works Honda ride, partially depending on what Marc Marquez decides to do.
“Of course I have offers, from nearly all the manufacturers,” the Catalan said on Saturday. “For the moment I'm thinking [mainly] of Suzuki, and see how we are doing in the first three or four races.
“They have trusted me and I would like it to be them who offer me a bike with which to fight to be champion. That's my goal.”
Vinales impressed during qualifying in Qatar by securing a spot on the front row, lapping within a tenth of poleman Lorenzo to line up for Sunday’s race third – while Suzuki teammate Aleix Espargaro crashed out in Q1.
Despite having yet to finish a race higher than sixth in his fledgling premier class career, Vinales insists he has no doubts about fighting for victory.
"More than anxiety, what I feel is the desire to run in front,” said Vinales. “This time it’s for real, it's not about the tyres anymore.
“I'm not worried about running with Marquez or Lorenzo – on the contrary, I'll be very happy to do it. I'm going to go out to have fun as I have always done up until now."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont