Yamaha press releases on our motor sports racing activities
Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Commence
Moto2 World Championship Debut
February 18, 2022
February 18, 2022—Today, the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team showed its official 2022 colours for their Moto2 debut as they enter the level of world championship Grand Prix racing. With Keminth Kubo and Manuel Gonzalez making up the young and determined rider line-up, the team is excited to commence their apprenticeship.
To give a taster of the upcoming Moto2 season, General Manager of Yamaha’s Motorsports Strategy Division Tetsu Ono, Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Sports Director Gelete Nieto, and riders Keminth Kubo and Manuel Gonzalez shared their thoughts on the team’s 2022 potential during their online team presentation.
Thai rider Kubo took part in the fifth edition of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp held in Tavullia in 2018. He and the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team debuted together in the CEV Moto2 class in 2019. The last three years of riding saw the youngster gain valuable experience. In 2021, Kubo also received his first wild card in the Moto2 World Championship. He took part in the Catalan GP, where he finished the race in 26th place.
Kubo will be joined by bLU cRU rider Gonzalez, the youngest ever WorldSSP300 title winner, who is used to World Championship-level pressure. Following his WorldSSP300 victory in 2019, the Spaniard joined the WorldSSP class and showed incredible consistency in 2020, never finishing outside the top 10 on his way to seventh overall in the championship. In 2021, the Spaniard did even better by securing third overall, with seven podiums, including two race wins.
The colour scheme of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team bikes is a perfect blend of Yamaha’s aesthetic and VR46’s instantly recognisable fluorescent yellow branding, that is also present in the team logo and on the team uniforms.
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. have a long-term alliance with VR46 since the first Yamaha VR46 Master Camp five-day training programme was held in July 2016. The programme’s success resulted in a three-year contract extension at the end of 2018 and again in 2021.
At the start, the project was mainly focused on nurturing Asian talent, but with the rider selection for the third edition, the project opened up and became global. And starting from the fourth edition, the programme is also open to already experienced Yamaha bLU cRU riders.
So far, the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp has put on nine consecutive training events. The participants were 42 mostly teenage riders, racing in various championships and hailing from 15 countries.
In November 2021, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and VR46 announced a new and exciting collaboration. The two companies that had been dedicated to nourishing next generation riders for many years now set out to offer young Yamaha talents the opportunity to hone their racing skills on a world championship level.
The brand new Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team debuting in the Moto2 class is wholly owned and funded by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. VR46 will be in charge of the management of this new Moto2 World Championship squad, which can also count on the support of Thai Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Yamaha Motor Europe N.V., and Yamaha Motor Racing Srl as it sets out to compete in the 21 GP rounds listed on the 2022 Moto2 calendar.
Tetsu Ono - Yamaha’s Motorsports Strategy Division General Manager
“We are delighted to see the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team take the step of debuting in the Moto2 World Championship. It’s an exciting new phase, that’s been in the making since 2016 when we first started the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp training programme in Tavullia.
“So far there have been nine editions of this training programme, that were joined by 42 young talented Yamaha riders in total, hailing from all over the world. Based on this foundation, we have created the CEV Moto3 Junior team that moved up the CEV Moto2 class in 2019. Just three years later, we are ready for a challenge on World Championship level.
“Kubo, a former Master Camp attendee, and Manuel, a bLU cRU talent, who showed his skills in the WorlSSP300 and WorldSSP class, will team up together. Their job for this year is to soak up as much information and new racing experience as possible, as this team’s main objective is to develop riders to reach the premier class of MotoGP.
“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank VR46 for their support for this project as well as for the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp training programme over the last six years and counting. We are thrilled to share a passion for talent development. I hope motorsports fans will also rally behind our team and encourage our riders throughout the 2022 season.”
Gelete Nieto - Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Sports Director
“First of all, I would like to thank Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and VR46 for letting me lead this new and young project, and believing in me and in my skills. I think the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team has a great value and strength, because it is supported by two big and important companies, so to me this is a real honour, and I can’t explain how happy I am.
“I think we can make a great season, but we need to stay realistic about the fact that our riders are two rookies. So, first we need to understand how to work well, step by step, but always keep growing, because the World Championship is difficult. There are a lot of strong riders, strong and historical teams, and we are at our beginning. We have some team members with a lot of experience in the Moto2 World Championship, like Luca Capocchiano (Gonzales’s crew chief), who is a great asset to Manuel and the team. Or me for that matter. I have been a World Championship rider for five years, and later I had my own team with my brother Pablo (Mooney VR46 MotoGP Team Manager). But regardless, we must stay grounded and keep working.
“I want this team to grow and work all together, I want everyone to be professional but also friends, and to create a very good atmosphere in and outside the garage. The season is long, we will be together a lot, and that’s the best way to work well and stay focused. I want the riders to be happy when they jump on the bike, do the best job they can dream of, and feel confident with the people that are working with them.”
Keminth Kubo - Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Rider
“It is a great honour to be allowed to make my official debut in the Moto2 class with the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team. I would like to thank Yamaha Motor Company, Thailand Yamaha Motor, and VR46 for their belief in me, and I will do my utmost to make them proud. I have already tasted a bit of the Moto2 excitement during my wild card ride in Barcelona last year. I am super motivated to learn more and improve during the 2022 season!”
Manuel Gonzalez - Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team Rider
“I’m really looking forward to start this new season, because this year I got the opportunity to make a big step for myself and for my career. Moving to the MotoGP paddock with this Moto2 team that is supported by Yamaha Motor Company and VR46 makes me really happy and even more motivated to give the maximum, to show my potential, and to be a better rider and person. I’m really grateful to have this opportunity and will do my best to exploit it.
During our first tests, I felt very good on the bike, and I can’t wait to start the season with the team at the first race in Qatar!”