Yamaha press releases on our motor sports racing activities
2017 Yamaha Motorsports Activities
March 3, 2017
IWATA, March 3, 2017— Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (Tokyo: 7272) is proud to present the continuation of the Yamaha Racing strategy for the 2017 on and off-road racing season. Yamaha restructured its mid- to long-term global strategy in 2015 - the year marking the company’s 60th anniversary - and has engaged in a variety of corporate initiatives under its basic policies for racing activities: increasing the value of the Yamaha brand, acquiring advanced technologies and promoting motorcycle racing.
With these plans in place for 2016, Yamaha excelled in top categories of racing. Yamaha took the Team Title and second and third place in the final rider rankings of the MotoGP World Championship, claimed a second consecutive victory in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours round of the Endurance World Championship and secured other racing accolades, thus refining its technologies and growing the value of the brand.
Moreover, Yamaha has continued to globally expand its strategic programme, begun two years ago, to discover and develop young talent. The Yamaha Racing Team was established last year to compete in the SuperSports 600 class of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC). Additionally, working together with Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Riders Academy, the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp was launched, providing great opportunities for standout young ARRC riders to further polish their skills at “the home of motorcycle racing”.
Under the same basic policies, Yamaha will carry out its racing activities globally in 2017, aiming to take numerous victories and to express the “Revs your Heart” brand slogan.
In the MotoGP World Championship the Yamaha’s Factory Racing Team - that took the Team title last season - will field Valentino Rossi, who finished second in the overall standings for the past three seasons. He will again make an attempt to secure his tenth World Championship Title this season. He will be joined in the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pit box by Maverick Viñales, who newly joins the team after taking a solid fourth in the standings in just his second season in the premier class last year. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 satellite team will have two-time consecutive Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco alongside Jonas Folger, who was seventh overall in last season’s Moto2 World Championship. All four riders will be on YZR-M1 machines and will be fighting to help Yamaha reclaim the Triple Crown following its last domination in the MotoGP class in 2015.
Last year, Yamaha returned to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) after a five-year hiatus. Competing this season in the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are Alex Lowes, who contributed to Yamaha’s second-consecutive victory at the Suzuka 8 Hours last year and ranked 12th overall in the WorldSBK class last season. This year he is accompanied by 2014 World Supersport Champion Michael van der Mark, who ranked fourth in WorldSBK last season and achieved consecutive Suzuka 8 Hour wins in 2013 and 2014. The two aim to prove that the YZF-R1 is the fastest motorcycle on the market and have set out to secure Yamaha’s first WorldSBK Championship Title in the class since 2009.
Besides WorldSBK, Yamaha makes its return to the FIM World Supersport Championship (WorldSSP) this year with the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team, fielding Lucas Mahias. He rode for the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team in 2016, securing the 2016 Endurance Rider World Champion title and helped them take second place in the Endurance World Championship for a second year in a row. This year, the Frenchman will be riding alongside Italian teammate and Yamaha newcomer Federico Caricasulo on the latest YZF-R6, a machine that has secured titles in numerous championships.
In the European Superstock 1000 Championship (STK1000), Florian Marino and Roberto Tamburini will ride the YZF-R1M for the Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team.
In the FIM Endurance World Championship, which kicked off its season in September 2016, the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team and YART Yamaha Official EWC Team are looking to add to their championship titles tally. Furthermore, Yamaha will once again compete in the Suzuka 8 Hours with a factory team, after winning the previous two years, and will be aiming for its first-ever third consecutive victory. In addition, Japanese rider Kohta Nozane, who has made steady progress riding for Yamaha’s youth team in the All Japan Road Race Championship’s premier JSB1000 class, will make the step up from competition in Asia to the world stage as a regular rider with the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team.
In the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship, North America’s premier road racing championship, last season’s back-to-back champion Cameron Beaubier will once again be paired with four-time Superbike Champion Josh Hayes in the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing Team for the 2017 season. Yamaha will also have teams participating in the Superstock 1000 class with the YZF-R1 and in the Supersport and Superstock 600 classes with the new YZF-R6 looking to win each respective title.
In the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC), the Yamaha Racing Team will contest the SuperSports 600 class with riders Yuki Ito, who finished last season ranked 13th, and Thai rider Keminth Kubo. Kubo is a member of Team Norick, founded by the late former GP racer Norifumi “Norick” Abe, and has refined his skills in local Japanese racing series as well as the Suzuka 4 Hours. The team will again be aiming for the title in its second season in the class while developing its two young riders.
In 2016, a Yamaha rider won the ARRC’s AP250 class title and this year local subsidiaries will continue to run the teams with support from Yamaha in the challenge to secure a second consecutive title for the brand while continuing to develop their young talents.
Furthermore, the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp project, that began in 2016 in cooperation with Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Riders Academy, aiming to develop young riders and promote their progression through a step-up structure, will be held again in 2017. Last year, six young Asian riders participated in the Master Camp. Among them, Thai rider Apiwat Wongthananon’s skills and future potential stood out and he was selected to join the VR46 Master Camp Team and compete in the CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship this year. At the forthcoming Yamaha VR46 Master Camp editions, promising young riders from around the world will be selected to attend, in the hopes of developing future motorcycle racers that thrive at world level.
In the Motocross World Championship, 2015 MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre, who was ranked fourth in 2016, is riding again for the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team alongside his teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek, who finished sixth overall last year. Both are riding the factory-spec YZ450FM in their quest to retake the MXGP title. Making a new entry in the MXGP class for this season is the Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP Team, fielding YZ450F machines steered by experienced MXGP-rider Shaun Simpson and Arnaud Tonus, the latter making his step up from the 250 class AMA Motocross Championship.
In the MX2 class, last season’s third-ranked Benoit Paturel is joined by Brent Van doninck and Alvin Östlund in the Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team, all riding the YZ250F with their eyes on taking the championship win.
The Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha Factory Racing Team is competing in the premier 450cc class of the AMA Supercross Championship that got its season underway on January 7th. Its riders are two-time 450cc class Champion Chad Reed, who returned to Yamaha after seven years and finished fifth in the last season, and Cooper Webb, the young top rider who won both the Supercross 250cc West Division and 250cc Motocross titles in 2016. The two mount their challenge aboard the YZ450F and are out to lift the first crown for Yamaha in the premier class since 2009.
Other Yamaha teams are also participating in the 450cc Supercross Championship and the East and West 250cc Supercross championships aiming for their respective titles, including the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha Team that has produced star riders like Cooper Webb.
In the Enduro World Championship, Loic Larrieu will compete on the WR450F in the EnduroGP class and Jamie McCanney, aboard the WR250F, aims to make his mark in the Enduro 2 class for the Outsiders Yamaha Official Enduro Team.