Yamaha’s factory outfit team boss Lin Jarvis has revealed the line-up of the Japanese manufacturer’s new satellite outfit, the SIC Racing Team for the 2019 season.
Speaking to MotoGP’s official pit reporter, Jarvis named the current Marc VDS Honda rider Franco Morbidelli and Moto2’s Fabio Quartararo as the riders for the SIC Racing Yamaha squad from 2019 onward.
He added the decision was largely for the team management to take which will be managed by Jorge Martinez, but the factory team had a say as well during the discussions for the possible candidates.
“I wouldn’t say we don’t have a say but ultimately the decision on the riders is that of the satellite team,” he said. “They’re an Independent Team. Of course, any rider they select needs to be finally approved by us at being at the level and the capacity to ride the M1.
“So they’ve chosen to go for Franco Morbidelli, who is a rider who is very interesting to us because he’s a World Champion, he’s an Academy rider and he definitely has talent. I think he’ll do better on the M1 than he is doing this year on the Honda.
“So in the case of Franco there was no doubt at all from the beginning. In the case of Quartararo he will be a rookie, but he’s young – only 19 – and he’s definitely talented. He lost his way maybe for a year or two but he’s showing promise again this year.
“But I think he could be one of the very good riders for the future. I think the case of Syahrin has shown that sometimes you can take a choice and if the guy’s got talent and is brought in without expectation, he can deliver. So we’re quite comfortable with the choice.”
After Tech 3’s move to KTM, Yamaha were left with no satellite outfit until Sepang circuit-backed SIC Racing Team stepped up from Moto2/Moto3 to the premier class. There was a strong speculation of Dani Pedrosa joining in after he was left out of Honda.
The Spaniard since decided to retire with a test role on the table with Honda and KTM. Once Pedrosa was out, Morbidelli’s chances was all but confirmed with the second seat open between MotoGP veteran Alvaro Bautista and rookie Quartararo.
Bautista is left with no seat after his team Angel Nieto was taken over by SIC Racing. It seemed like Martinez will pick the experienced Spaniard but there was a strong inclination towards the rookie Frenchman as well.
It seems like the management has decided to go the rookie way alongside the experience of a Moto2 world championship Morbidelli. Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi was also asked of his opinion during the Czech GP.
The Italian was happy with either Bautista and Quartararo, but stated the former as a ‘safe choice’ considering the experience he has while the latter could spring in a surprise owing to the performances he has in Moto2 this year.
Quartarao started slowly this year but has since picked up his pace which has seen him score a win and a podium as well to be ninth with 84 points after 11 races. At the same time, Bautista has out-ridden a year old Ducati to be 13th with 57 points.
Meanwhile, the move by Morbidelli to SIC Racing and the announcement of Thomas Luthi returning to Moto2 in 2019 has thrown more light on the future of Marc VDS. They have had issues within the team and it remains to be seen if they can take the grid next year.