A multi-discipline pre-season launch of Yamaha’s official racing teams, from WorldSBK to off road and back again, took place at 11am on 7 February 2016, at the racing headquarters in Gerno di Lesmo, near Monza.
The WorldSBK focus was is the relatively youthful line-up of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, on the heavily revised YZF-R1. With sponsorship from Pata and Rizla the final paintwork and image was unveiled.
Taking into consideration all of Yamaha’s WorldSBK paddock presences, there will be a total of 12 Yamaha official riders in ’17, across several classes. And a further seven will compete in the colours of ‘Racing Blue’ in the FIM Endurance World Championship.
For the WorldSSP class Federico Caricasulo and Lucas Mahias presented their all-new YZF-R6 machinery. STK1000 riders Florian Marino and Roberto Tamburini will take the YZF-R1 into a new adventure.
Another all new venture for Yamaha – and the whole WorldSBK paddock – is the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship. Six young ‘bLU cRU’ (blue crew, as it were) riders Robert Schotman, Enzo De La Vega, Kimi Patova, Renzo Ferreira, Mkyta Kalinin and Alfonso Coppola, will be the official phalanx of runners. All on the YZF-R3, of course,
integral to their bLU cRU status, will compete for a place on an official R6 Yamaha in the WorldSSP ESS Championship in 2018.
Said Lowes of his latest opportunity to post wins and go for the WorldSBK title, “For me as a rider staying in the team makes me so optimistic and testing has gone really well. I feel fantastic and we have had a good winter so I am ready to get started.”
Van der Mark, also chasing his first win at this level, said, “After the first laps on this bike I thought I had made the right choice. I have been more and more comfortable and faster every time. I am looking forward to the first round in PI.”