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Teams & Riders

The 2017 program of Yamaha factory and support teams and riders

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.

Road Racing

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.

Motocross/Supercross

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.

Enduro

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.

Main Yamaha Race Teams for 2017

Road Racing

Rider Team Machine
MotoGP World Championship
Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1
Maverick Viñales
Johann Zarco Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Jonas Folger
MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship
Alex Lowes Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team YZF-R1
Michael van der Mark
FIM World Supersport Championship
Lucas Mahias GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team YZF-R6
Federico Caricasulo
European Superstock 1000 Championship
Florian Marino Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team YZF-R1M
Roberto Tamburini
FIM Endurance World Championship
David Checa GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team YZF-R1
Mike Di Meglio
Niccolò Canepa
Broc Parkes YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
Marvin Fritz
Kohta Nozane
Max Neukirchner
MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Championship
Cameron Beaubier Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing Team YZF-R1
Josh Hayes
Asia Road Racing Championship: SS600 Class
Yuki Ito Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R6
Keminth Kubo
Decha Kraisart Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
Chalermpol Polamai
Asia Road Racing Championship: AP250 Class
Anupad Sarmoon Yamaha Thailand Racing Team YZF-R25
Peerapong Luiboonpeng
Peerapong Boonlert
Galang Hendra Pratama Yamaha Racing Indonesia
Reynaldo Chrisantho Ratukore
Ahmad Afif Amran Hong Leong Yamaha Racing
Asia Road Racing Championship: UB150 Class
Wahyu Aji Trilaksana Yamaha Racing Indonesia JUPITER MX-KING

Motocross/Supercross

Rider Team Machine
FIM MXGP World Championship
Romain Febvre Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team YZ450FM
Jeremy Van Horebeek
Shaun Simpson Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP Team YZ450F
Arnaud Tonus
FIM MX2 World Championship
Benoit Paturel Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team YZ250F
Brent Van doninck
Alvin Östlund
AMA Supercross: 450cc Class
Chad Reed Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha Factory Racing Team YZ450F
Cooper Webb
AMA Supercross: 250cc Class
Aaron Plessinger Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha Team YZ250F
Colt Nicholss
Mitchell Harrison
Dylan Ferrandis
Daniel Reardon

Enduro

Rider Team Machine
FIM Enduro World Championships: EnduroGP
Loic Larrieu Outsiders Yamaha Official Enduro Team WR450F
FIM Enduro World Championships: Enduro 2
Jamie McCanney Outsiders Yamaha Official Enduro Team WR250F

2017 Rider Profiles

Road Racing

MotoGP World Championship

Valentino Rossi

Profile
Nationality Italian
Born Feb. 16, 1979
Racing team Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
Racing career
1996 9th in MotoGP World Championship 125cc class
1997 MotoGP World Champion, 125cc class
1998 2nd in MotoGP World Championship 250cc class
1999 MotoGP World Champion, 250cc class
2000 2nd in MotoGP World Championship 500cc class
2001 MotoGP World Champion, 500cc class
2002 MotoGP World Champion
2003 MotoGP World Champion
2004 MotoGP World Champion
2005 MotoGP World Champion
2006 2nd in MotoGP World Championship
2007 3rd in MotoGP World Championship
2008 MotoGP World Champion
2009 MotoGP World Champion
2010 3rd in MotoGP World Championship
2011 7th in MotoGP World Championship
2012 6th in MotoGP World Championship
2013 4th in MotoGP World Championship
2014 2nd in MotoGP World Championship
2015 2nd in MotoGP World Championship
2016 2nd in MotoGP World Championship

Maverick Viñales

Profile
Nationality Spanish
Born Jan. 12, 1995
Racing team Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
Racing career
2011 3rd in MotoGP World Championship 125cc class
2012 3rd in Moto3 World Championship
2013 Moto3 World Champion
2014 3rd in Moto2 World Championship
2015 12th in MotoGP World Championship
2016 4th in MotoGP World Championship

Johann Zarco

Profile
Nationality French
Born July 16, 1990
Racing team Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Racing career
2009 20th in MotoGP World Championship 125cc class
2010 11th in MotoGP World Championship 125cc class
2011 2nd in MotoGP World Championship 125cc class
2012 10th in Moto2 World Championship
2013 9th in Moto2 World Championship
2014 6th in Moto2 World Championship
2015 Moto2 World Champion
2016 Moto2 World Champion

Jonas Folger

Profile
Nationality German
Born Aug. 13, 1993
Racing team Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Racing career
2009 12th in MotoGP World Championship 125cc class
2010 14th in MotoGP World Championship 125cc class
2011 6th in MotoGP World Championship 125cc class
2012 9th in Moto3 World Championship
2013 5th in Moto3 World Championship
2014 15th in Moto2 World Championship
2015 6th in Moto2 World Championship
2016 7th in Moto2 World Championship

World Superbike Championship

Alex Lowes

Profile
Nationality British
Born Sep. 14, 1990
Racing team Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
Racing career
2008 16th in European Superstock 600 Championship
2009 26th in European Superstock 1000 Championship
2010 12th in British Supersport Championship
2011 20th in British Superbike Championship
2012 4th in British Superbike Championship
2013 British Superbike Champion
2014 11th in World Superbike Championship
2015 10th in World Superbike Championship
2016 12th in World Superbike Championship

Michael van der Mark

Profile
Nationality Dutch
Born Oct. 26, 1992
Racing team Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
Racing career
2010 30th in European Superstock 600 Championship
2011 3rd in European Superstock 600 Championship
2012 European Superstock 600 Champion
2013 4th in World Supersport Championship
2014 World Supersport Champion
2015 7th in World Superbike Championship
2016 4th in World Superbike Championship

Asia Road Racing Championship: SS600 Class

Yuki Ito

Profile
Nationality Japanese
Born Nov. 14, 1991
Racing team Yamaha Racing Team
Racing career
2006 19th in All Japan Road Race Championship 250cc class
2007 12th in All Japan Road Race Championship 250cc class
2008 9th in All Japan Road Race Championship 250cc class
2010 Entry in All Japan Road Race Championship ST600 class
2011 19th in All Japan Road Race Championship ST600 class
2012 5th in Asia Road Racing Championship SS600 class
12th in All Japan Road Race Championship ST600 class
2013 4th in Asia Road Racing Championship SS600 class
8th in All Japan Road Race Championship ST600 class
2014 2nd in Asia Road Racing Championship SS600 class
12th in All Japan Road Race Championship ST600 class
2015 4th in Asia Road Racing Championship SS600 class
16th in All Japan Road Race Championship JSB1000 class
2016 13th in Asia Road Racing Championship SS600 class

Keminth Kubo

Profile
Nationality Thai
Born May 21, 1999
Racing team Yamaha Racing Team
Racing career
2016 Motegi Road Racing Championship ST600 Champion

Motocross
MXGP World Championship

Romain Febvre

Profile
Nationality French
Born Dec. 31, 1991
Racing team Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
Racing career
2012 13th in MX2 World Championship
2013 12th in MX2 World Championship
2014 3rd in MX2 World Championship
2015 MXGP World Champion
2016 4th in MXGP World Championship

Jeremy Van Horebeek

Profile
Nationality Belgian
Born Nov. 28, 1989
Nov. 28, 1989 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
Racing career
2007 16th in MX2 World Championship
2008 8th in MX2 World Championship
2009 11th in MX2 World Championship
2010 9th in MX2 World Championship
2011 17th in MX2 World Championship
2012 3rd in MX2 World Championship
2013 7th in MX1 World Championship
2014 2nd in MXGP World Championship
2015 5th in MXGP World Championship
2016 6th in MXGP World Championship

AMA Supercross Championship: 450cc Class

Chad Reed

Profile
Nationality Australian
Born Mar. 15, 1982
Racing team Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha Factory Racing Team
Racing career
2001 2nd in Motocross World Championship 250cc class
2002 AMA Supercross 125cc East Division Champion
3rd in National Motocross Championship 125cc class
2003 2nd in AMA Supercross 250cc class
3rd in National Motocross Championship 250cc class
2004 AMA Supercross 250cc class Champion
2nd in National Motocross Championship 250cc class
2005 2nd in AMA Supercross 250cc class
8th in National Motocross Championship 250cc class
2006 3rd in AMA Supercross 450cc class
6th in AMA Motocross 450cc class
2007 2nd in AMA Supercross 450cc class
27th in AMA Motocross 450cc class
2008 AMA Supercross Champion
2009 2nd in AMA Supercross 450cc Champion
AMA Motocross 450cc class Champion
2010 17th in AMA Supercross 450cc class
11th in AMA Motocross 450cc class
2011 2nd in AMA Supercross 450cc class
3rd in AMA Motocross 450cc class
2012 12th in AMA Supercross 450cc class
2013 5th in AMA Supercross 450cc class
15th in AMA Motocross 450cc class
2014 14th in AMA Supercross 450cc class
11th in AMA Motocross 450cc class
2015 4th in AMA Supercross 450cc class
22nd in AMA Motocross 450cc class
2016 4th in AMA Supercross 450cc class

Cooper Webb

Profile
Nationality American
Born Oct. 11, 1995
Racing team Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha Factory Racing Team
Racing career
2014 5th in AMA Supercross 250cc West Division
3rd in AMA Motocross 250cc class
2015 AMA Supercross 250cc West Division Champion
11th in AMA Motocross 250cc class
2016 AMA Supercross 250cc West Division Champion
AMA Motocross 250cc class Champion
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