After the winter stop, the wait is finally over; Yamaha will be back in action with the strongest team and rider selection in its over 60-year racing history. Yamaha today launched their official 2016 racing teams across multiple classes both on- and off-road. The 2016 Yamaha Racing Global Press Conference took place at the Diagonal 00 in Barcelona, Spain at the headquarters for Telefónica, who’s Movistar brand is the Factory Yamaha MotoGP team’s main sponsor. The event was hosted by MotoGP commentator Gavin Emmett and saw an impressive twelve teams share the podium to show their 2016 racing colours. Before Yamaha’s road and off-road challengers were revealed, the President of the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd, Mr Hiroyuki Yanagi, shared a few words on Yamaha’s racing spirit. He was then joined by the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd General Manager, Motorsports Division, Mr Kouichi Tsuji to discuss the 2016 road racing strategy. After reminiscing on the successes booked in 2015 including the Triple Crown in MotoGP, the stunning Suzuka8H endurance win and the MXGP title, all in Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd’s 60th anniversary year, Yamaha Motor Europe Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Eric de Seynes took the stage to present Yamaha’s 2016 off-road racing strategy.
Yamaha’s off-road racing teams were the first to make an appearance in the spotlight. The Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP Factory Team taking the stage. 2015 FIM MXGP Motocross World Champion Romain Febvre, together with 2014 MXGP runner-up Jeremy Van Horebeek will strive for the golden plate again in 2016 with the YZ450FM. They will be joined in the premier class by Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Valentin Guillod, who moves up from the MX2 class and will be guided by Team Manager Marnicq Bervoets. In 2016 Yamaha will continue to be represented in the MX2 class by two strong teams: Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team with riders Benoit Paturel and Brent Vandonink and the Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha Official MX2 Team with riders Aleksandr Tonkov and Julien Lieber. They are all set to kick off the new season in style on the Yamaha YZ250F. It was then time for the 2016 Enduro World Championship’s participants to become the focus of everyone’s attention. The Miglio Yamaha Official Enduro1 Team will take shape with Mikael Persson and Jamie McCanney as riders, respectively 2015 Enduro Junior World Champion and Enduro Youth Cup Champion. Seven years after celebrating the coveted Enduro 2 World Championship title with Frenchman Johnny Aubert, Yamaha returns to the highly competitive class with the all-new WR450F. Last year’s Enduro1 rider Cristobal Guerrero moves up to the Enduro2 class, alongside Loic Larrieu, to be a part of the newly established Outsiders Yamaha Official Enduro2 Team.
With the off-road line-up completed, it was time to move on to on-road racing. With a year of racing development under their belt, Yamaha looks forward to showcasing the YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M in the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), FIM Superstock 1000 Cup (STK1000), and FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC). For the first time since 2011, Yamaha returns to the Motul FIM World Superbike Championship stage, with the newly formed Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team. Supported by Yamaha Racing R&D, which was established in Germany last year to manage the new YZF-R1 development, the team strives for glory with the new Superbike-spec YZF-R1. The all-new racing machine will be put in the very capable hands of talented riders Alex Lowes and 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli. In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, the newly formed Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team will step up to the plate, ready to do battle with returning rider Florian Marino and newcomer Riccardo Russo, who are eager to get on track with the YZF-R1M.
Last year’s FIM Endurance World Championship runner-up, the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team, which was clinched the EWC victory twice before, sees a new and fast rider line-up consisting of David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Louis Rossi. In the four extreme endurance races this season they will race alongside fellow YZF-R1 riders Max Neukirchner, Iván Silva, Sheridan Morais and Broc Parkes of the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team.
Last but certainly not least were Team Monster Yamaha Tech3. Vastly experienced riders Bradley Smith, who was the highest-ranking non-factory rider last year, and 2013 FIM Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaró are looking forward to starting the 2016 MotoGP season next month when they will test this year’s YZR-M1 model at the Sepang International Circuit.
HUNT FOR GLORY
Though all of Yamaha Motor Europe’s teams had been revealed, there was one more surprise in store. At the end of the presentation all of the on-road and off-road teams were joined on the podium by Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi for a unique moment and a photo to showcase Yamaha’s entire racing strategy from the bottom to the top. With this new strong line-up Yamaha is set to prove once again its challenging spirit and share the success that will come with sponsors, partners, fans and a worldwide fan audience captivated by the thrill of motorsport.
President of the Yamaha Motor Company, Mr Hiroyuki Yanagi explains: “The Yamaha Motor Group racing activities follow three basic principles. The first is to build the value of the Yamaha brand; our ‘Revs Your Heart’ slogan is an expression of our desire to deliver ever greater excitement to the hearts of people everywhere, like the rising revs of our engines. We truly believe that our motorsports activities are at the heart of this message. “
The second principle is to take the technology we develop in our quest for victory on the racing circuit and use it to develop the best possible products for our customers. “The third is of course to share with as much of the world as possible the joy of taking part in, or watching motorsports at all levels across the globe. “We arrive now at a new racing season, as committed as always to stand on these three principles, to push for nothing less than victory in all classes we enter and to continue to drive our racing technology forward so that we can in turn continue to deliver class leading products that set new standards in the market. “In the 60 years we have been racing, we have written history through our incredible number of successes and we strongly believe that this new year will be no different. We look forward to sharing it with you. We want to thank our fans, the media, the sponsors and the partners for their continued support and enthusiasm for creating ‘kando’ with Yamaha for all.” General Manager Motorsports Division for the Yamaha Motor Company, Mr Kouichi Tsuji, stated: “For 2016 we continue to build on our vision for a successful Motorsport strategy, building on our brand reputation and also the renovation of our product line in order to satisfy, in an innovative way, the needs of many enthusiast riders. “At the very top of our racing pyramid is our MotoGP project that gives our brand global recognition and promotion across the world with our position at the top of the premier class championship. “Through this MotoGP activity our strategy is to continue to innovate and feed back to our production models, bringing championship winning technology such as the crossplane crankshaft to benefit the production racing machines, and ultimately also our consumers. In particular we have considerable focus on our “race blu” machines; the new generation YZF-R1 for example, supporting our re-entry into the WorldSBK championship to show how the challenging spirit and innovation of Yamaha is stronger and more committed than ever. We will also of course return to Suzuka with a Factory effort, determined to build on our historic success of 2015.
“Our racing strategy for off-road also reflects our road racing vision. The positive technological advances gained from our premier class of motocross racing in MXGP transfer down through the production race classes and ultimately to our customers. Our championship winning YZ technology for example, which dominated the MXGP championship in 2015, can be seen in the all new WR450F which is not only now available for our customers, but has also taken our Dakar official riders through the toughest race on earth and will complete the returning to the Enduro World Championships in 2016, the perfect breeding ground for development and also to find new talent for the future.” Yamaha Motor Europe Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Eric de Seynes added to this: “For us 2016 is looking to be an impressive season with possibly our strongest line up ever across all classes. It is also a special year for us as we welcome back an important partner to our motorcross activities. “Personally I’m really very excited to see Monster Energy joining us again. As a brand they share our vision and values and they will support us as Title sponsor on MXGP Factory Team as well as main sponsor on all MX Official Teams to nurture and support from the bottom to the top of the sport so there really is no better partner for us to begin this exciting season with. “The same goes for our WorldSBK activities. We arrived at the beginning of last year with a totally new YZF-R1, which we really believed was a game-changing machine. We went straight into racing activity across the world in numerous classes and were immediately able to be successful wherever we raced. “However, the bike arrived quite late last year so it was impossible to start immediately WorldSBK without the valuable year of development, racing data and experience we have built. “Now we think we cannot wait anymore to bring back YZFR1 to the challenge it was born for. We know it will be a new and challenging adventure, and this is the reason why we have carefully selected all the persons and the partners that will be with us, including the new title sponsor Pata, who make an important contribution to the project. Working with the PATA Yamaha WorldSBK Team we believe we are ready to make a big push and start fighting from the first race.”