Maverick Vinales--named after a character in the campy '80s Tom Cruise movie--Top Gun--has signed with Suzuki MotoGP through 2016. The rider who will be his teammate remains the subject of much speculation, but with the Vinales signing Suzuki's MotoGP effort gets an added dose of respectability. Maverick Vinales is very fast, a world champion and a rider many believe can muster the jump from Moto2 to MotoGP more like Marquez than Bradl.
But the Suzuki?
Watching Suzuki's involvement in Grand Prix over the last 30 years is a lot like observing the same tidal current for the same period. Tides roll in and roll back out. When they can muster it, Suzuki ramps up their racing department and goes "all in" in Grand Prix and MotoGP. Their world championships with Barry Sheene, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Junior put them in the record books as underdog victors. However, enduring the championship--at the top level--always seems to put Suzuki at a disadvantage; the cuts backs and roll-backs always seem to loom large.
To make the Suzuki GP bike work they need desire-saturated young rider who doesn't care how bad the bike is--he just wants to win. Like Kevin Schwantz was in 1989, Maverick Vinales is a rider with a great deal of desire and courage. He will probably always be a dark horse while he rides the Suzuki, but Vinales is the brightest spot we've seen yet in Suzuki's most recent return to Grand Prix.