Movistar Yamaha have this morning confirmed Maverick Vinales will join Valentino Rossi in their MotoGP squad after signing a two-year deal, making him a factory rider until the end of 2018.
Vinales has turned down a big-money contract (purportedly double what Yamaha have offered) to remain with Suzuki for the next two seasons and develop the GSX-RR into a race winner, opting instead for the best bike on the grid and in probably the best team.
The move frees up Suzuki to announce their line-up too, which will more than likely be already-announced Andrea Iannone alongside incumbent Aleix Espargaro, after the Italian was dumped out of Ducati in favour of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
A statement from Yamaha reads:
It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd announces the signing of Maverick Viñales to ride for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team for 2017 and 2018.
Viñales, who is presently fifth in the MotoGP™ Championship standings, will partner nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, whose contract renewal was already announced in March this year.