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.
To read the remaining 907 words of this article, you need to sign up to become a MotoMatters.com site supporter by taking out a subscription. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here. If you are already a subscriber, log in to read the full text.
This is part of a regular series of unique insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for MotoMatters.com site supporters. The series includes interviews, background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion, and is available to everyone supporting the site by taking out a subscription.
If you would like to read more of our exclusive content you can join the growing band of site supporters, by taking out a subscription here. If you prefer, you can also support us on our Patreon page and get access to the same exclusive material there.