MotoGP silly season moves fast: Vinales to Yamaha, Iannone to Suzuki

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The bulk of the big rider moves ahead of the 2017 MotoGP season have now been sewn up following a flurry of announcements in the past 24 hours.

Earlier this week, Ducati confirmed that it would be dropping Andrea Iannone at the end of the season to make way for three-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who announced last month that he would be ending his long-running relationship with Yamaha.

With both of Ducati’s factory rides currently taken, Ducati was left with the decision of dropping either Iannone or Andrea Dovizioso, with the latter receiving a new two-year deal.

“I’m very pleased to have reached this agreement with Ducati and to be able to continue the adventure we began in 2013,” Dovizioso said.

“Over the years we worked hard and have managed to bring the Desmosedici to a great level of competitiveness and therefore I am convinced that soon we will get all the rewards we deserve.”

Iannone moved quickly following Ducati’s decision, entering talks with Suzuki over a ride for 2017 when it became clear that its rider Maverick Vinales was being lined up as Lorenzo’s replacement at Yamaha.

On Thursday morning, Suzuki announced that Vinales would be leaving at the end of 2016 before following this with confirmation that Iannone had signed on a two-year deal.

“We are happy to have enrolled Andrea in our team for the next two years. He is one of the top riders in MotoGP and he is also very passionate and motivated; which fits into our racing philosophy,” Suzuki MotoGP team boss Davide Brivio said.

The final piece of the puzzle was completed shortly after when Yamaha announced that Vinales would be joining also on a two-year deal from 2017, racing alongside nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi.

With just five races of the season through, the height of MotoGP’s silly season is now over. Here’s how the four major manufacturers will be lining up in 2017.

Honda: Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa
Yamaha: Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales
Ducati: Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso
Suzuki: Andrea Iannone, TBA