In the wake of Honda’s extension of Marc Marquez’s contract, Yamaha’s top MotoGP riders both indicated they want to stay with the factory team when their contracts expire.
Earlier this week, Marquez and Honda announced they were sticking together for another two years. That instantly led to some speculation about the future of Yamaha’s other top three riders – Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Lorenzo and Rossi haven’t inked a new contract with Yamaha yet, but they both say they’d like to.
“”My priority is to stay at Yamaha and I would like to stay with the team until the end of my career,” said Lorenzo. “But I am focused on working at the track and my manager works on talking to the team about the future.”
The word on the street had Ducati sniffing around the possibility of poaching Lorenzo during the off-season, but it sounds as if he’s not that interested, or at least that’s his public line.
Veteran racer Rossi said that despite ongoing speculation that he’s considering retirement, he actually wants to stay in MotoGP for at least a couple more years.
“My project is to make another contract for two seasons and I think in the next weeks, during the next races we will talk with Yamaha in order to continue,” he said.
This weekend’s race will be an important battle for the Yamaha riders. So far, Marc Marquez has ridden his Honda to victory in every race this year; Yamaha has traditionally done well at Le Mans, but so far this year, HRC has dominated. Yamaha needs to start regaining some traction soon if they hope to compete for the title this year. The season has gone especially badly for Lorenzo, and he’s anxious to turn things around.
“I didn’t expect to be in this position and although my gap to the front is not too far, the results have not been what we wanted,” he said.
But in Friday morning testing, it seems as if Marquez is still dominating, with a 1’34.328 best time, 0.189 seconds ahead of Pedrosa. Rossi was in third, 0.253 seconds back, and Lorenzo was in fourth.