The 2019 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi were unveiled today in Jakarta, Indonesia, where Monster Energy and Yamaha combined to create a fresh look for the Iwata factory ahead of the first official MotoGP test of the new year at Sepang later this week. The team will now officially known as Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP.
“When we started 2018 we hoped to be at a better level,” admitted team manager Lin Jarvis. “It was a long and hard season, but we recognized what problems we had. Having gone past that period we have a renewed spirit. We’re ready to start this new season. If we can start the Sepang test well then I think we’ll be in good shape for the season.
“With any team structure, there are always changes that need to be made. In Japan we have seen there’s a new organization, headed by Kouichi Tsuji. Another change that is important is the interaction between Japan and Europe. We are expanding in Europe, in Italy, and that interaction will be important. I’m confident with the technical, personnel and riders, along with the partners we have, we’ll have a good season.
“We’re kicking off in a positive way, the merging of the brands gives us a new energy — literally. ‘Beast mode on’ is something we need to adopt if we want to become world champions.”
Nine-time world champion Rossi said he looked forward to a fresh start for 2019.
“In this moment you are always very excited,” said Rossi. “We have to work hard because in the last period our opponents made a good step. In modern MotoGP the key is the tires — we always work to save the tires. It’s a difficult job, it’s very precise — you have to work on your style and work hard with your engineers. This is the objective this year.
“For me it’s a long time with Monster and I always feel very comfortable. I like the colors, the green and black are good with the blue of our Yamaha — it’s aggressive, we’re like ‘Men in Black.’ I’m very proud — it’s important to have Monster as a main sponsor.”
Vinales added: “It was a great winter. I felt really good and it’s a pleasure to be here. I saw the bike and it’s beautiful. Normally I try to start and feel prepared. It doesn’t matter how last year went, it’s a new start. We’ve seen many changes within the team, Stefan will enable me to do my best. I feel like I have really good experience with my people, with all the changes I think I can do it.
“All the athletes I cheer for have Monster. I feel really proud and now incorporating Monster on the bike, it feels really good.”
Testing at Sepang gets under way on Wednesday, February 6.