Yamaha sets eyes on its next young MotoGP prospect

As Motorsport.com has learned, the Spaniard met with Lin Jarvis, director of Yamaha, on the Saturday of the last race weekend of last season in Valencia.

In that meeting, Jarvis outlined his interest in incorporating him into its structure in the near future.

At first, it appeared the Japanese manufacturer was thinking of Lopez as a possible replacement for Franco Morbidelli at the factory squad, who completed his worst year in MotoGP in 2022 with just 42 points scored last season.

Despite the Valentino Rossi protege’s poor performance, the company’s top management decided to respect the contract signed with him, which expires at the end of 2023, and give him one more year to react.

In any case, the competition on the current MotoGP grid discourages the promotion of a Moto2 rider directly to an official team.

That reinforces Yamaha’s intention to make room for Lopez once it has been able to close the deal that would allow it to regain the satellite team it has lost for 2023, with the departure of RNF to Aprilia.

The most logical option in this regard is an agreement between Yamaha and VR46, although Valentino Rossi’s team is contracted to Ducati through to the end of 2024.

Lopez was one of the standout performers of the 2022 Moto2 season. Having raced in only four grands prix in 2021 and remaining without a bike for 2022, Lopez was offered a Speed Up ride by Luca Boscoscuro when it parted ways with Romano Fenati partway through the campaign.

Alonso Lopez, +Ego Speed Up

Alonso Lopez, +Ego Speed Up

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Lopez scored a maiden podium at Silverstone before taking the first of two victories in 2022 at Misano, the second coming in Australia.

Despite being able to take part in only 14 races, Lopez finished eighth in the overall points table, only 9.5 points behind Celestino Vietti in seventh.

His breakthrough piqued the interest of Jarvis, who wasted no time: «We all know how this world works.

«My job is also to be aware of the alternatives offered by the market. And that applies to riders, engineers and so on. In the case of racers, I think I can make a good X-ray of the options available,» Jarvis told Motorsport.com.

Yamaha has enjoyed much success with young signings in MotoGP, with the Japanese brand snaring Jorge Lorenzo to a deal two years before he would make his debut with the factory squad in 2008 and go on to win three world titles with the brand.

More recently, it enjoyed podium success with Fabio Quartararo in 2019 at Petronas SRT before he was ultimately promoted to the factory squad in 2021, when he won the championship.

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