Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales continued their media tour this week with a short but rewarding stop-over in the Philippines, the duo reuniting in Quezon City, near Manila, for a dealer event and a special outdoor racing activity, the 'Yamaha GP', organised by Yamaha Motor Philippines Inc. (YMPH).
The teammates were enthusiastically greeted by the Filipino fans upon arrival at Manila Airport on January 27th. The locals were excited to welcome back Rossi, who visited the Philippines before in 2014, and keen on giving Viñales an unforgettable taste of all their country has to offer, as it was his first time visiting.
“This was a new experience for me, I had never visited the Philippines before, so I‘m very happy that I‘ve had the chance now to get a quick first impression of the country,” Vinales said. “The people here are so friendly and they really put in an effort to make us feel welcome.”
“The crowds at the “Yamaha GP” event were cheering very loudly during the press conference and it‘s great to see how passionate they are about motorsports. I also had a lot of fun on track today with Valentino, riding a Yamaha SNIPER 150 MXi. I enjoyed my time in Manila a lot so it‘s a shame that we have to leave already after just 24 hours, but I‘m also looking forward to riding my YZR-M1 again in Sepang in just a few days‘ time.”
The riders started the next day with a press conference at the Robinsons Novaliches Trade Hall together with Yamaha Motor Company's General Manager Motorsports Division, Kouichi Tsuji, and President of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc., Toru Osugi.
This was followed by a photoshoot and then it was time for action. Eager to take part in the ’Yamaha GP‘, the riders headed outside in their leathers where two Yamaha SNIPER 150 MXi stood waiting. Rossi and Viñales entertained the crowd by doing a few laps on a small ’track‘ created in the parking lot and were joined by YMPH‘s riders afterwards for a group photo.
“This was my second time visiting the Philippines and I‘m even more impressed by the country, the culture and the atmosphere than the first time. The people are all very friendly so I enjoyed my stay here a lot,’ Rossi added. “It was nice to meet the Filipino press and the fans again and put on a little show for them, riding the Yamaha SNIPER 150 MXi. It‘s not as big as my M1, but it‘s fast. Though we couldn‘t do a proper race, Maverick and I did a couple of laps with the fans watching and we had fun, but now it‘s time for serious work again. We will soon fly to Malaysia for the test in Sepang and start the season.”
After lunch the pair took time to talk to the media before they had to pack their bags for the Sepang MotoGP Official Test, to be held from January 30th – February 1st. This test will be the first occasion for Rossi and Viñales to ride the 2017 Yamaha YZR-M1 in its new colours as they prepare for the coming season.