Strongest team, driver selection in 60-year history
Yamaha, last month, launched its official 2016 racing teams across multiple classes both on- and off-road. The 2016 Yamaha Racing Global Press Conference took place at the Diagonal 00 in Barcelona, Spain at the headquarters for Telefónica, whose Movistar brand is the Factory Yamaha MotoGP team’s main sponsor. The event was hosted by MotoGP commentator Gavin Emmett and saw an impressive twelve teams share the podium to show their 2016 racing colors.
Before Yamaha’s road and off-road challengers were revealed, the president of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Hiroyuki Yanagi, shared a few words on Yamaha’s racing spirit. He was then joined by the Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. general manager, Motorsports Division, Kouichi Tsuji to discuss the 2016 road racing strategy.
After reminiscing on the successes booked in 2015 including the Triple Crown in MotoGp, the stunning Suzuka8H endurance win and the MXGP title, all in Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.’s 60th anniversary year, Yamaha Motor Europe Chief Operating Officer Eric de Seynes took the stage to present Yamaha’s 2016 off-road racing strategy.
Yamaha’s off-road racing teams were the first to make an appearance in the spotlight. The Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP Factory Team taking the stage. The 2015 FIM MXGP Motocross World Champion Romian Febvre, together with 2014 MXGP runner-up Jeremy Van Horebeek, will strive for the golden plate again in 2016 with the YZ450FM. They will be joined in the premier class by Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Valentin Guillod, who moves up from the MX2 class and will be guided by Team Manager Marnicq Bervoets. In 2016 ,Yamaha will continue to be represented in the MX2 class by two strong teams: Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team with riders Benoit Paturel; and Brent Van doninck and the Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha Official MX2 Team with riders Aleksandr Tonkov and Julien Lieber. They are all set to kick off the new season in style on the Yamaha YZ250F. It was then time for the 2016 Enduro World Championship’s participants to become the focus of everyone’s attention. The Miglio Yamaha Official Enduro1 Team will take shape with Mikael Persson and Jamie McCanney as riders, respectively 2015 Enduro Junior World Champion and Enduro Youth Cup Champion.
Seven years after celebrating the coveted Enduro 2 World Championship title with Frenchman Johnny Aubert, Yamaha returns to the highly competitive class with the all-new WR450F. Last year’s Enduro1 rider Cristobal Guerrero moves up to the Enduro2 class, alongside Loic Larrieu, to be a part of the newly established Outsiders Yamaha Official Enduro2 Team.
With the off-road line-up completed, it was time to move on to on-road racing. With a year of racing development under their belt, Yamaha looks forward to showcasing the YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M in the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), FIM Superstock 1000 Cup (STK1000), and FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC).
For the first time since 2011, Yamaha returns to the Motul FIM World Superbike Championship stage, with the newly formed Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team. Supported by Yamaha Racing R&D, which was established in Germany last year to manage the new YZF-R1 development, the team strives for glory with the new Superbike-spec YZF-R1. The all-new racing machine will be put in the very capable hands of talented riders Alex Lowes and 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli.
In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, the newly formed Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team will step up to the plate, ready to do battle with returning rider Florian Marino and newcomer Riccardo Russo, who are eager to get on track with the YZF-R1M.
Last year’s FIM Endurance World Championship runner-up, the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team, which was clinched the EWC victory twice before, sees a new and fast rider line-up consisting of David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Louis Rossi. In the four extreme endurance races this season they will race alongside fellow YZF-R1 riders Max Neukirchner, Iván Silva, Sheridan Morais and Broc Parkes of the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team.
Last but certainly not least were Team Monster Yamaha Tech3. Vastly experienced riders Bradley Smith, who was the highest-ranking non-factory rider last year, and 2013 FIM Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaró are looking forward to starting the 2016 MotoGP season next month when they will test this year’s YZR-M1 model at the Sepang International Circuit.
Hunt for Glory
Though all of Yamaha Motor Europe’s teams had been revealed, there was one more surprise in store. At the end of the presentation, all of the on-road and off-road teams were joined on the podium by Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi for a unique moment and a photo to showcase Yamaha’s entire racing strategy from the bottom to the top.
With this new strong line-up, Yamaha is set to prove once again its challenging spirit and share the success that will come with sponsors, partners, fans and a worldwide fan audience captivated by the thrill of motor sports.Yanagi further said.