Lin Jarvis Interview, Part 1: "People Have No Idea The Factories Talk To Each Other All The Time"

Timing press releases is always something of an art. You want to maximize the publicity value, while paying due care to the feelings and pride of all those involved. So they are usually only released after long discussions and with approval by management.

Which is what made the announcement by RNF that they would be switching from Yamaha to Aprilia quite so painful. Though the news was hardly a shock, the way it was made public was extremely surprising, with a press release rushed out on Friday morning, just before FP1.

The timing was even more awkward because the release went out at the same time that RNF team owner Razlan Razali was in a meeting with Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis, where Razali was about to officially inform Jarvis of RNF's intention to switch to Aprilia from 2023 onward. Normally, the timing of a press release would be one of the subjects on the table at such a meeting.

In Barcelona, I sat down with Lin Jarvis to discuss the announcement, and what it means for Yamaha's future plans for a satellite team. We ended up covering quite a lot of ground beyond my original questions about RNF, so this has been split into two parts. In the first half of the interview, we discussed the situation surrounding Yamaha's current and future plans for a satellite team.

Q: Obviously, the news came at Mugello that RNF were going to Aprilia. I understand that you were in a meeting with RNF at the time. They were telling you about it when it was made public. I think that was Aleix Espargaro’s fault for being eager to tweet the news. Were you expecting this?

Lin Jarvis: No, we were not surprised at all. I was only surprised about the manner of informing us and the timing of the press release, which is something which I’ve never really come across something like that before. When you're still in an existing partnership with another six months to run, it’s a little unusual to do a unilateral decision.

Q: My understanding was it was forced because Aleix Espargaro tweeted about it too early?

LJ: I don't think so. I don't think you can react to a tweet, write a press release and get it approved within five minutes. It doesn’t work like that. So, it’s a matter of when you decide to press the button. So, if you then decide suddenly to press the button quickly, but you can only do that if you’re completely ready.

Q: Obviously, the plan is next year two bikes, and as Fabio Quartararo has been saying, he hasn’t had much useful feedback anyway, because of the situation of the riders in the WithU RNF team. But satellite teams do generally seem to be very important in terms of providing feedback and data. Are Yamaha looking at having a satellite team in the future?

LJ: Yeah, we’ll be back. It’s a matter of timing. In an ideal scenario, we probably would have continued with RNF for one to two years longer because everybody entered into more or less three-year programs. When we chose to go with RNF, it was with a three-year program as the umbrella, but we simply wanted to proceed for, should we say, corporate diligence year by year. Because RNF was effectively a startup.

The old Sepang International Circuit team was a state-owned company. Owned by the state, by the Ministry of Finance from a circuit with a very solid background, so it’s a completely different story in terms of financial stability and guarantees. So, when we agreed to go with a three-year partnership, at that time, we expected it should remain the same.

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Third paragraph, this should read "where Razali was about to officially inform Jarvis of RNF's intention to switch to Aprilia from 2023 onward"

but I suspect most of us know about the occasional typo, but don’t really care; it doesn’t detract from the depth and scale of the articles which, as I’m sure you’re aware, are of the very highest quality 😊

Very well done David, great interview. Can't wait for the second half, Lin seems to be speaking pretty freely here and it is very interesting but not surprising they all speak to each other at management level, what's unusual is him saying it, and a damaging report for Razali as a new team owner/manager to handle it so unprofessionally considering where he's come from. That was a proper dig at RNF, but as usual with Lin done beautifully and without malice while at the same time getting his point across perfectly.

I've never understood why so many fans seem hostile towards Lin Jarvis (on the internet, not in real life). Anyway, a great interview and interesting insights. 

Razlan Razali on the other hand appears worse with everything I read or see of him. I would have loved to have seen someone else fielding the second Aprilia team, but glad it's going ahead anyway. I wonder how RR will screw them over in the end.

He's always seemed professional and above-board to me. Yamaha certainly thinks he's more than competent; he's been part of that race team management forever. I remember him once being asked about the pressures of his job, dealing with upper management, prima donna riders, etc., and he smiled gently and replied, "It's always nice to get home and have a tall gin and tonic."

Both articles are great, by the way, Mr. Emmett. Loving your new(ish) in-depth approach to articles.

His must be one of the most difficult jobs going and I’ve only once seen him drop the ball (not ensuring Jorge felt he got his dues after winning the 2015 title). Can you imagine the difficulty of having two of the biggest ever princesses in your garage simultaneously! I say this with affection, but managing Vale or Jorge must have been tough, but both at the same time? And the fact of the matter is, he’s overseen the winning of more titles than I can count. If there was a top managers title I suspect he’d be the man to beat.

I used to think Lyn Jarvis had the best job in MotoGp.

Until Yamaha let us all down. But Yamaha did apologize for their failures.

Not sure but I think the Yamaha bosses respect Jarvis.  He is a good manager. Did it & does it very well.

Lin Jarvis is always an interesting man to listen to. He doesn't make it easy for you to get a scoop , he is too subtle when conversing. But it is in there amongst the nuanced corporate politic.