May 19, 2016 / 8:42 AM / 3 years ago

Yamaha sign Vinales, Iannone to Suzuki

Suzuki MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales of Spain looks at the timing screens during a free practice session at the TT Assen Grand Prix at Assen, Netherlands June 26, 2015. REUTERS/Ronald Fleurbaaij

(Reuters) - Spanish Suzuki rider Maverick Vinales has signed a two-year deal to replace compatriot and reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha from 2017, the team announced on Thursday.

Suzuki said separately that they had signed Ducati’s Italian Andrea Iannone to replace Vinales, who had his first MotoGP podium finish when he finished third in France earlier this month.

Vinales, 21, will partner Italy’s nine times world champion Valentino Rossi.

Rossi, 37, signed a contract extension in March to continue with Yamaha to 2018 in a deal likely to see out his career at the top level of motorcycling.

Triple MotoGP champion Lorenzo, who leads the standings ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, is joining Ducati at the end of the season.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John O'Brien

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