12 Official Yamaha Riders take on WorldSBK
In the picturesque town of Gerno di Lesmo, Italy which is the new home to the Yamaha WorldSBK teams, the machines that will grace the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship circuits were unveiled this afternoon.
With the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now re-locating to the historic headquarters in Italy, the team will now have a deeper backing from Yamaha Motor Company as they head into the new season. Remaining British Rider Alex Lowes and new signing Michael van der Mark were both present at the launch, keen to get underway following strong steps made over winter testing.
van der Mark explains: “I’m really excited to change teams. I’m really excited, I was looking for a new adventure and I have a feeling that the bike has so much potential. Winter testing has been really good and for me, and the first lap I went out on track with the R1 I felt I’d made the right decision. We worked so hard during the winter to get more speed and improve the bike, and I just know I’ve made a good decision.”
“We’ve improved a small step in lots of different areas,” Lowes divulges, “So I’m very excited to arrive at Phillip Island and to understand where we are. We need to be up there fighting, but first we need to understand how to be there, and I’m looking forward to this. In the Phillip Island test I have to find a little bit of better confidence and a little bit better feeling, and if I find this I will be very happy going into the first race. My goal is to get the best result possible, I want to realise my potential.”
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP team-mates Lucas Mahias and Federico Caricasulo took the covers off their new YZF-R6, as they head into the new season with the backing of Filippo Conti as their Team Manager. Eager for the season to get underway, they will also have ex-125 and 250 Grand Prix World Championship rider Mirko Giansanti as its Sporting and Technical Director.
On top of their two World teams, Yamaha also see the return of the Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team, with Florian Marino and Roberto Tamburini at the helm. Marino returns to the team for a second season, despite being hindered by injury for the majority of 2016 and will be joined by Tamburini who was STK1000 runner up in 2015.
Also launched in Italy were six bikes which on top of their official teams, Yamaha will provide six YZF-R3 machines in the new FIM Supersport 300 World Championship. This will see a ‘class within a class’ develop for the manufacturer, known as the R3 bLU cRU Challenge. Youngsters Robert Schotman, Enzo De La Vega, Kimi Patova, Renzo Ferreira, Mykyta Kalinin and Alfonso Coppola will spend the season fighting for this separate crown.
Andrea Dosoli – Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Project Manager explains: “2017 is a very important season for Yamaha as we are involved across all the classes, highlighting the strong commitment to motorsport and a strong commitment to the value of the sport. We are not only supporting the pinnacle of the sport, in Superbike, but always we keep in mind the dedication to growing the talent from the base and this year we will be present from 300 to 1000cc.
“Today, finally we launch the new season, and it has been nice to see all the teams and riders so committed for the challenge ahead knowing they can count on the full support from Yamaha Motor Europe and Yamaha Motor Japan. We will do our best in order to support from the technical point of view, from the human point of view and any other services we can provide, to allow them to become faster as riders but also to grow as professionals in their career. Yamaha believe in this talent from the roots to the top and they in turn are able to count on the competitive packages provided from the YZF-R3 to the YZF-R1.”