In what may be the most noteworthy roster change since 2004 when Valentino Rossi decided to leave Honda for Yamaha in 2004, Jorge Lorenzo’s decision to join Ducati for 2017 has set off a chain of changes that has affected both Yamaha and Suzuki.
Even before the roster switch was made official, we had a sense that something had to change at Yamaha after the events of late 2015. General assumption was that Yamaha would sign on Lorenzo in an effort to keep him while leaving Rossi to decide if he wanted to sign with the Japanese manufacturer for another two years.
By that point, Ducati’s interest in Lorenzo was already well know, but Lorenza could have decided to stay where he was. Yamaha made the final push when both he and Rossi were offered a renewal at the same time.
Once Lorenzo’s move to Ducati was confirmed, speculation as to who would replace him in 2017 ran rampant. According to MotorSport, Yamaha decided to offer a contract to Maverick Vinales from Suzuki. Of course, Ducati had to make space for Lorenzo so Andrea Iannone was let go. He’s still going to be in the 2017 MotoGP as he quickly filled in the hole at Suzuki that Vinales left.
The 2017 MotoGP promises to be an interesting year for everyone.