Race winner Yuta Okaya, Koen Meuffels and Adrian Huertas will ride alongside reigning Champion Jeffrey Buis in WorldSSP300 in 2021
After confirming that the 2020 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship title winner, Jeffrey Buis, would return to the category for 2021, MTM Kawasaki have now confirmed the three riders who will join him as they launch an ambitious four-rider line-up for the second consecutive season. Yuta Okaya and Koen Meuffels will stay with the team for 2021 having competed in 2020, while Adrian Huertas will move to the Belgium-based squad for 2021.
The team claimed the riders’ and teams’ championships throughout 2020 with 19-year-old Buis taking eight podiums and four victories on his way to the title, while all four riders from 2020 won races for MTM Kawasaki: Yuta Okaya and Koen Meuffels claiming one each while Scott Deroue, who has since left the team, also picking up one victory. The team claimed an historic 1-2-3-4 finish at the Catalunya Round as Okaya claimed his only victory of the season.
Yuta Okaya said: “I’m happy to stay with MTM Kawasaki in the WorldSSP300 for the 2021 season. I have a good feeling with the team and we learned a lot last year. We had some good results in 2020, but we want more. My target is to take the Championship. This is my only goal for this season. I’m so looking forward to racing again!”
Meuffels’ ended the 2020 season strongly with a victory and a podium at the season-ending Estoril Round and the 26-year-old will be looking to build on that as he embarks on his second season with the team; the Dutchman hoping he can go better than his fourth place in the standings from 2020.
Meuffels outlined his goals for the season, saying: “After having such a good last weekend in 2020, I wanted to continue with MTM Kawasaki. The team feels like home. There is a good spirit, but they also work hard and professionally. The team and I feel that there is still room for improvement. That’s necessary to compete for the win every weekend and when we will do that, we also compete for the Championship. With this idea, we will start the 2021 season!”
The new addition to the team comes in the form of Spanish rider Huertas, who competed in 10 races in 2020 and picked up a best result of eighth at the Teruel Round at MotorLand Aragon. The 17-year-old competed in the Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup in 2018 and 2019; claiming a best finish of fourth place in Austria in 2019. Huertas will compete in his first full season of WorldSSP300 action in 2021 and will also switch machinery from Yamaha to Kawasaki.
The Spanish rider said: “I’m really happy to join MTM Kawasaki and first of all I want to say a big thank you to the entire team for this opportunity and to all the people who worked to make it happen. It’s a big chance for me to jump on board the winning Kawasaki bike and join the winning team from 2020, so I couldn’t be happier to be where I am. It will be my second season in the WorldSSP300 Championship. I built up experience last year about how you have to race in this category, and I think working together we will be able to have a really good year. I will continue training hard to be 100% prepared for the start of the season and my target is to give everything I have, everything we have, to try to be World Champions.”
Team Owner Ludo Van der Veken added: "With Jeffrey, Koen, Yuta and Adrian, we have managed again to present a strong team of riders. Koen and Yuta already showed their value last year. The cooperation between the riders was excellent, which is also an important factor for success. I think Adrián, with his talent, is a great addition to the team. Of course, it’s a pity that we weren’t able to continue with Scott and I wish him all the best in his further career. The MTM goal is to match the fantastic results of last year. We’re going for it!”
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