Yamaha Factory Racing boss Lin Jarvis said recently he expects HRC to make a strong move toward signing Yamaha lead rider Jorge Lorenzo as Marc Marquez's teammate in 2015.
But Jarvis told British media that keeping Lorenzo is a priority for the company and team even though contract negotiations have not started. Lorenzo is one of the five factory team riders out of contract after 2014, with only Cal Crutchlow at Ducati signed through 2015.
"I think Jorge will want to wait to check the level of Honda and Yamaha in the early races of 2014," Jarvis said. "Then we will see if he has confidence in Yamaha's direction, investment and ability to develop the bike and be competitive and challenge for wins. Our target of developing the bike is not to persuade Jorge to sign but to win races and the championship. If we win this year's championship we will be in a better position no matter whether it is Lorenzo, Rossi or anyone else."
The last time Lorenzo's contract was up he received a strong offer to become a factory Honda rider. However, Lorenzo rebuffed the Honda offer and signed with Yamaha. He said later that he signed the new contract with Yamaha too early in the negotiation process. It's known those around him were urging him to sign with Honda before he grabbed the pen.
There's also a current running through Jarvis' comments that probably is gaining speed in the MotoGP paddock - Dani Pedrosa's time at Repsol Honda could end after 2014 - definitely if the team lands Lorenzo. Next season will be Pedrosa's ninth at the team, and he has zero World Championships despite arriving there in 2006 as the anointed one of HRC and Spanish petroleum giant Repsol. If, and it remains a very big if, Marc Marquez is able to win the MotoGP championship this season it will mark the second time that a new rider has walked into the Pedrosa/Puig team and stole the world championship from them. Casey Stoner--in full Nexus-7 mode--won the title in his first year as a Repsol Honda man and Pedrosa's teammate.
It only took nine races for sensational rookie Marquez to take control of Repsol Honda, giving the team a guaranteed superstar for years to come if it discarded Pedrosa.