Yamaha: Rossi-Vinales relationship "no problem" to manage

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Yamaha: Rossi-Vinales relationship
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Sep 14, 2017, 4:30 PM

Valentino Rossi’s relationship with Maverick Vinales is “completely different” to his fractious partnership with Jorge Lorenzo, says Yamaha team boss Lin Jarvis.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Third place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Factory Racing Managing Director
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Third place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Factory Racing Managing Director
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Factory Racing Managing Director
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Polesitter Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Vinales replaced Lorenzo alongside Rossi at the factory Yamaha squad at the start of this season, immediately proving to be on the pace during winter testing and the early rounds.

But, despite his competitiveness, the atmosphere between he and Rossi has remained largely cordial, with their only major on-track scrap this year coming for victory at Le Mans.

By contrast, Rossi and Lorenzo famously had a strained relationship during their first stint at Yamaha together in 2008-10, their respective crews operating either side of a dividing wall in the centre of the Japanese manufacturer’s pitbox.

Tensions flared up again in 2015 when the pair bitterly fought it out for the title, with Lorenzo coming out on top before signing to join Ducati for this season early in the following year.

Asked about the state of the relationship between Rossi and Vinales, Jarvis described it as being “very different” to the one the Italian had with Lorenzo.

“It’s very different compared to in the past, because they don’t have that experience of being in too many conflict situations together,” said Jarvis. “So it really is completely different.

“So far, it’s really been no problem at all to manage the two of them co-existing. The relationship is very good, we’ve not had any issues.

“We’ve seen a couple of times that they’ve been on the same line in training [practice], but this is part of every day in MotoGP.”

"One bullet left in the gun"

Vinales is now Yamaha’s only realistic hope for this year’s MotoGP title, after a motocross crash left Rossi on the sidelines for last weekend’s Misano race with a broken leg.

While the situation means the Iwata firm can now focus all its energies on one rider, like rivals Honda and Ducati with Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso respectively, Jarvis does not see this as a boost to Yamaha’s chances.

“I can’t see any advantage,” said Jarvis when asked being able to focus on a single rider was an advantage. “It’s better to have two bullets than one bullet.

“If something happens to Marc, Honda are in difficulty. Now we’ve seen something has happened to Vale. Imagine if Vale was our only bullet, we would be in difficulty.

“We’ve never doubted having two in the fight is better than one. A lot of people talk about one rider stealing points from the other… rubbish.

"Each rider is competing [against] each other, and for a manufacturer it’s better to have two bullets in the gun. That’s it. I don’t see, frankly, any real positive.”

Rossi will also miss next weekend's race at Aragon as his leg continues to heal, with Yamaha choosing Michael van der Mark as a stand-in.

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

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