The Japanese rookie has been keeping good company and keeping busy, as he finishes his testing duties at Losail, impressing key figures within Yamaha’s factory MotoGP effort
Whilst the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship gets ready for action, the MotoGP™ World Championship paddock are on track at the Losail International Circuit, with their first round just around the corner. However, joining them on track has been Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and the Japanese sensation has had plenty of time on the YZR M1 Yamaha.
Joining the likes of reigning World Champion Joan Mir, nine-time Champion Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro on track, Nozane was able to get crucial bike time amongst fast riders, as well as carrying out testing duties for Yamaha. Alongside Cal Crutchlow and Katsuyuki Nakasuga, the three riders had a choice of three bikes to try and develop ahead of the season, meaning they were busy.
Nozane has seemingly impressed, with Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo praising his efforts. Viñales said: “I was able to talk to him. All of the Yamaha riders are really involved with each other to understand what they tried and what they are feeling. Nozane was improving day-by-day which is important as he is a young rider, but the M1 is very different to the R1. He did a good job on the M1 in MotoGP™, so for sure it will be a bit different going back to WorldSBK on the R1.”
Nozane: "Hey Cal, can I try your bike? It's just... awesome" @calcrutchlow :"Sure mate, do as many laps as you want"— WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) March 11, 2021
Nozane got the opportunity to test the new YZR-M1 at the #QatarTest! pic.twitter.com/JniqEbwqCx
Quartararo was also impressed with Nozane and commented on the Japanese rider’s potential going forward into the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season. “I think this test will help him a lot on his move back to WorldSBK,” began Quartararo. “He’s done a good job; I hope he will do well back in World Superbike.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team manager and former World Supersport podium finisher Massimo Meregalli commenting on his efforts across testing at Losail, saying: “This year, due to the difficult circumstances, we haven’t been able to make a proper shakedown test in Japan, nor in Spain. We have been forced to send the full testing squad to Qatar and luckily, Kohta could join. We had plenty to test and his support has been very, very important. So far, he has done a really good job and hopefully, it will give him some advantage when it comes to his rookie WorldSBK season.”
Can Nozane impress throughout his rookie year? Watch the WorldSBK story unfold with the WorldSBK VideoPass!