JX Nippon Oil & Energy will continue to support Yamaha Factory Racing and use our sponsorship of the Yamaha MotoGP team to promote the ENEOS brand worldwide.
Yamaha Factory Racing introduces award-winning Maverick Viñales, and continues its partnership with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi!
Team Yamaha is coming out of another first place season for the team, and have dominated the podium as one of the most winning teams in MotoGP history!
Born in Urbino, Italy on February 16th, 1979, Rossi was riding bikes from an early age thanks to the encouragement of his father Graziano, himself a former Grand Prix winner. Following an early start in go-karts, Rossi junior progressed to mini-motos and quickly showed a talent for two-wheels, becoming regional champion in 1992. What followed has been one of the most notable careers in MotoGP history, including nine Grand Prix World Championships.
Last year (2016) Rossi again meant business right from the start of the season and he climbed the rostrum for the first time in 2016 in Argentina. Though struck by external circumstances on occasion, ‘The Doctor’ never lessened his attack and went on to secure nine further podium finishes, with wins in Jerez and Catalunya, remaining a key protagonist in the 2016 challenge until the overseas leg at the end of the year. Though he just missed out on the trophy and secured the Vice-Champion Title for the third year in a row, his and his teammate’s consistent drive did bring Yamaha its seventh FIM MotoGP Team Title.
Though Rossi is still chasing his tenth World Championship Title, he is already known as one of the greatest of all time. He equals Mike Hailwood and Carlo Ubbiali, who both wrote nine titles to their names in all classes, only Giacomo Agostini and Angel Nieto have more. Furthermore, with 55 wins from 189 races Rossi remains the most successful Yamaha racer of all time since he joined the Japanese factory. Finally Rossi is the only rider to win premier class titles on five different types of motorcycles (500cc 4-cylinder two-stroke, 990cc 5-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 990cc 4-cylinder four-stroke, Yamaha 800cc 4-cylinder four-stroke and a Yamaha 1000cc 4-cylinder four-stroke).
Viñales was born in Figueres, Spain, on January 12th, 1995. He began racing in minimotos at just three years of age before moving onto motocross. In 2002 his passion for speed brought him to circuit racing in 2002. He competed in the Catalonian 50cc Championship and followed it up with several successful seasons in the 70cc “metrakit” bikes.
Viñales got hold of the Catalonian 125cc Champion Title in 2007, successfully defended his crown in 2008 and also won the Mediterranean Trophy. In 2008 he also competed at selected events in the German IDM 125GP Championship for RZT Racing aboard an Aprilia RS 125 R, achieving a best result of seventh. In 2009, he moved up to the CEV Buckler 125GP series, partnering with Miguel Oliveira in the Blusens-BQR team. Viñales secured the Rookie of the Year award, finishing the season as the runner-up to Alberto Moncayo in the championship standings by just four points. Viñales claimed four successive podiums during the season.