World Champion Romain Febvre was courted by three other manufacturers with hefty contract offers before electing to ink a three-season deal with Yamaha and to remain in blue until 2019.
The agreement between the 24-year-old Frenchman and the factory from Iwata means he will steer the works YZ450FM and remain in Grand Prix. The news was made public on the morning of his home event at St Jean D’Angely.
“I had Honda, Suzuki and Husqvarna [interested],” the 2015 MXGP winner commented exclusively. “They did everything they could to promise me a deal and I’m very proud of what they offered and the trust that put in me. It is not easy to make a choice like this and it was not for one year but for the future. We had a long chat with my agent and I am happy I made the best decision. Yamaha also improved the contract so I am really happy.”
Febvre remarked in the French GP press conference on Saturday that Yamaha improved their terms to meet the rider’s requests. Among the details is a commitment to MXGP and also other events that ‘461’ might want to contest. It seems Febvre will be the first major name to ally to the inaugural Supermotocross Cup in October.
“I cannot talk too much about this [the contract specifics] but for sure I should stay in Europe for the next three years at least,” he revealed. “We have three races we can do of our own choice and two from Yamaha,” he added. “If it goes well then normally that will mean Japan [Sugo] and the Supermotocross Cup for Yamaha. And for me it will probably be supercross; depending in the time we have in the winter between tests and a small holiday if possible.”
The long-term commitment to Yamaha ensures a degree of freedom for Febvre and matches the current trend for deals permitting riders to keep an open mind for what, where and when they want to compete. Tim Gajser has a similar ‘open’ agreement with HRC and has made no secret of his desire to attempt supercross while Spanish youngster Jorge Prado (expected to jump into MX2 next year) has a single contract direct with KTM meaning he can glide into any team or set-up without the worry of personal sponsor conflict.
“We had a good chat with Yamaha but someone like Husqvarna also offered the possibility to change to supercross or Enduro or Rally,” insights Febvre. “It means it is even more difficult to think about things!”