However, the focus of the 2018 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Presentation event was set on celebrating the start of the new season, rather than commemorating past achievements. Eager to take on the challenge to push the limits even further in 2018, the two companies unveiled a new team logo, that shows Movistar’s new color scheme, with a light blue “M”.
Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales: Return to challenge for glory
Rossi is known to be Yamaha’s most successful rider and is determined to further confirm his status in 2018, as he enters a sixth consecutive year with Yamaha Factory Racing since his return to the manufacturer in 2013. Moreover, 2018 will be his 13th season with the team since he first joined Yamaha in 2004.
Though the Italian had a strong start to the season last year, and briefly led the championship standings – two injuries sustained in separate incidents ultimately cost him a chance to fight for the 2017 title. Despite these misfortunes, the 38-year-old Italian secured six podiums in total, including a brilliant race win in the Netherlands. With a total of 115 Grand Prix victories written to his name, this year he’ll be gearing up once more for his quest to secure a tenth title.
Viñales made waves on his first year with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team. He joined the Factory Yamaha crew after gaining two years of experience in the premier class and was quick to make a name for himself as one of the key protagonists, securing third place in the overall rider standings in his first year with Yamaha.
The 23-year-old had a dream start to the 2017 season, taking two race wins at the opening rounds in Qatar and Argentina. He followed it up with a win in France to secure Yamaha’s 500th Grand Prix victory. Though the remainder of the season was more challenging for the Spaniard, he still graced the podium a total of seven times last year, which only left him hungrier to compete at the front of the MotoGP field again during the 2018 season.
Yonny Hernandez rides for Yamaha Tech3 at first official pre-season test
Yamaha Tech3 rider Yonny Hernandez who would replace Jonas Folger in the 2018 season, has participated in his first pre-season test at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. The official pre-season test kicks off this week.
Following the announcement that Folger has to sit out the entire 2018 campaign due to his continuous recovery, the 29-year old Hernandez takes over his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the three days of testing at the Malaysian venue, bringing five years of MotoGP experience. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team intends to reveal a permanent replacement ahead of the second test in Thailand, mid-February. “First of all, I have to say, that I’m sorry for Jonas Folger. I hope he gets well very soon and back on track again, as he is an incredible fast and talented rider and I want to wish him all the best. At the same time, I’m obviously happy for myself to get such a fantastic opportunity riding a MotoGP bike again. I’m delighted I can do the test and work with a very good team and machine. I’m truly curious to ride a Yamaha bike, because in all my career I was sitting on a Ducati. I want to thank the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team and especially Herve Poncharal for giving me this unique chance,” said Hernand