until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Miller? Iannone? Contenders for Yamaha's new MotoGP team

by Simon Patterson
7 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

It’s finally official: Pramac Racing will become Yamaha’s new MotoGP partner team in a massive seven-year deal that includes developing both the troubled M1 bike and future premier-class talent in a dedicated structure.

While the unprecedented deal is excellent news for Pramac’s long-term stability, the mixed goals of rider spotting and bike development means that the next task at hand for team principal Paolo Campinoti and Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis isn’t an easy one, as they try to work out who is going to be riding the two factory-spec machines Pramac will receive for 2025.

There’s no lack of candidates, of course, with only half of the current grid still signed up and plenty of proven world champions and race winners still to secure rides for next season.

Here’s our take on the potential options.

The MotoGP veteran: Jack Miller

Jack Miller

Since it was announced that KTM had filled its house for 2025 and it didn’t include space for Jack Miller, the Australian has been job hunting - and insistent that he has multiple opportunities for next year, one of which is bound to include Pramac’s new Yamahas given that he spent three decent years with the team before gaining promotion to factory Ducatis.

He comes with considerable experience of working with factory teams to develop their bikes, too, thanks to four years across Ducati and KTM’s top teams. He’s also done the job of satellite team test rider in the past too, working while at Pramac on Ducati innovations like its ride height devices.

However, he’s also got a reputation that precedes him for inconsistency, something that hasn’t exactly been improved by his year and a half on a KTM - and it could be that Yamaha would like someone who sees more chequered flags given its need to gather data on the M1.

The one with Yamaha experience: Franco Morbidelli

Franco Morbidelli Jerez MotoGP podium 2021

Pramac already has a rider signed up who’s both returning to form and has considerable past Yamaha experience.

But given how tough the tail end of his Yamaha stint was, it’s pretty clear Franco Morbidelli is right now unwilling to return to life as a development racer just as he feels on the cusp of returning to winning ways with Pramac’s current Ducatis.

Asked by The Race if he’d considered sticking with Pramac for its Yamaha move, he replied: “At the moment, I’m not sure about that”.

The 2020 runner-up hasn’t been on a grand prix podium for over three years, and would prefer a safer bet for 2025 - such as moving across to mentor Valentino Rossi’s VR46 team, which is sticking with Ducati. 

“As a professional, you need to take into consideration every opportunity that is put in front of you, especially in my condition right now,” said Morbidelli.

“Yeah, I’m doing fine, but I’m not one of the top riders anymore. I’m working towards getting back to being a top rider again, but I’m not there yet.

“When you’re in that condition, you need to take into consideration many more chances that are brought to you.”

The race winner: Miguel Oliveira

Miguel Oliveira

Another current MotoGP racer (and race winner) with a CV that shows he knows how to help gather feedback, and the fact that Miguel Oliveira currently does the same job that Yamaha needs someone for at Aprilia satellite Trackhouse should show that he’d be a good fit for Pramac as well.

The biggest sticking point, in fact, might be whether he’s even on the market. Aprilia has, now that its all-new factory line-up of Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi is completed, been making noises about wanting to retain some consistency at its satellite with both Raul Fernandez and Oliveira being praised publicly by team boss Massimo Rivola, admittedly more so in Fernandez’s case.

Ultimately who rides for Trackhouse is a decision in the hands of team owner Justin Marks and team boss Davide Brivio, not Rivola.

Should they want to keep Oliveira, you’d imagine that his first preference will be to stay put - but if they want to pursue another route, then Oliveira will feature highly on Yamaha’s Pramac shortlist.

The Moto2 superstar: Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia

Obviously, the immediate aim of Pramac will be to help Yamaha rebuild the M1 project - but given that part of the deal includes an expansion into Moto2 in the future, it’s clear that there’s also a youth development component to it.

So if they want to take a bet on someone not currently in MotoGP, then current Moto2 championship leader Sergio Garcia is the best candidate.

Putting together an impressive sophomore season in the middleweight class with podiums in half the races so far and two wins to his name, he’s been the standout so far this year, even compared to Ducati’s early 2025 MotoGP signing Fermin Aldeguer.

However, given the challenges Yamaha is still facing, it might be a case of too much too soon to put a rookie in there, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Yamaha elected to take a safer bet on a more experienced pair of hands for now - even if that means someone is offered only a one-year deal with a view to getting fresh talent in for 2026.

The fast young talent: Fabio Di Giannantonio

Fabio Di Giannantonio

Until recently, you’d have said that his current form would boost VR46 Ducati racer Fabio Di Giannantonio high on the candidate list for Pramac, something very much backed up by team boss Campinoti highlighting him as one of the names he’s targeting to help lead the new project.

The problem is, though, that with a taste of winning MotoGP races after his impressive Qatar success for Gresini at the end of last season, Di Giannantonio has a different plan for himself next year - and instead sounds like he wants to remain where he is so that he can start 2025 running, not crawling.

“I’m super happy that at the moment a lot of teams want me,” the Italian said when asked about his options by The Race.

“I have my staff that’s working for me for the future, but I’ve always said that I want a project that I can be in the fight for the win with from the first race of next year already.

“For sure we will listen to everybody, but then we will decide for this.”

And there’s little chance of a Pramac Yamaha fighting for wins early in 2025. Staying in the satellite Ducati fold - especially with two 2025 Desmosedicis heading somewhere now Pramac is gone - would be much more in line with Di Giannantonio’s goals for next season.

The outsider: Andrea Iannone

Andrea Iannone

Perhaps the most surprising name on this list given that Andrea Iannone hasn’t sat on a MotoGP bike since he was banned for doping over four years ago.

However, he’s made a strong return to racing in World Superbikes this year and has a very close relationship with Campinoti thanks to his previous spell at Pramac, and the team owner has made it clear that he’d like to at least try Iannone out.

“If you talk to me about Iannone,” Campinoti told Italian website GPOne, “you get me straight in my heart.

“I've spoken with Andrea, and I count on organising a test with him with Yamaha. Then we'll see.

“It won't be easy because the MotoGP pool is full of sharks now. It's not his time anymore. The young guys are now going really strong.”

The biggest roadblock there might well be Yamaha, which will have a say in Pramac’s rider line-up given they’re likely to be contracted directly to the factory.

Yamaha might not want someone who’s been absent from MotoGP for years and who doesn’t exactly come with a stellar reputation for bike development.

The world champion rookie: Toprak Razgatlioglu

Toprak Razgatlioglu

Iannone isn’t the only contender from the World Superbike paddock, though - and the other option, Toprak Razgatlioglu, doesn’t just have Yamaha experience, he’s won a world title for it in the production bike series.

He’s also incredibly talented, able to (like Marc Marquez at his prime) do things that no one else can right now on a particular bike - in Razgatlioglu’s case the BMW superbike.

He has a contract with BMW for 2025 already, but his management says he can get out of it if he’s offered a MotoGP seat, which could present an enticing offer to both Pramac and MotoGP promoter Dorna, which would love to see the Turkish racer step across.

But Razgatlioglu has a problem: he’s a known quantity to Yamaha, and what it last saw of him didn’t impress.

He was given a MotoGP test while still a part of the Yamaha fold in 2023 and it didn’t end well, with complaints from Razgatlioglu about not getting full support and whispers in return that Yamaha was less than impressed by his pace.

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