Yamaha Motor Europe has today announced that it will make a return to the WSBK championship next year after a five year hiatus. Spearheading the challenge will be 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli and 2013 British Superbike Champion Alex Lowes, both of course piloting the Yamaha YZF-R1.
The team will be formed in conjunction with Crescent Racing who currently use the Suzuki GSX-R1000 as their weapon of whoice and are the only UK-based team in WSBK. They have a 20-year racing history at both national and global level that features victories in the British Superbike Championship, World Superbike and MotoGP.
Yamaha Motor Europe will retain responsibility over racing strategy and technical development, as well as the rider agreements with Crescent’s hugely experienced, dedicated, technical and engineering racing personnel running the team’s operation at each of the Championship rounds.
“Having re-written the Supersport rule book and changed the game with the new YZF-R1, directly developed from Yamaha MotoGP technology, it was clear we would need to return to the World Superbike Championship to show the full potential of our new Superbike machine” said Yamaha Motor Europe Chief Operating Officer, Eric De Seynes. “We took one year to grow experience with the new R1 in many other championships where the bike has shown its potential already, with the amazing 8H of Suzuka victory and the very positive results that our official Teams are gathering all around Europe. Now we are ready to be back on the world stage and I am happy we have found in Crescent the same values of professionalism, engineering detail and passion for victory we share.”
Frenchman Guintoli has over 15 years experience in racing, with 45 podiums, 10 race wins and, of course, the 2014 world title to his credit – in classes spanning 250cc, MotoGP, British Superbike and World Superbike. While young British rider Lowes took 20 podiums, 8 wins and 6 pole positions on his way to his 2013 British Superbike title. He has also competed with Crescent for the last two seasons so is no stranger to the team or the WSBK series.
With Kawasaki preparing to release a new ZX-10 for the 2016 season and the potential for Suzuki to sell update their GSX-R1000, it looks like next year’s WSBK season will be one of the most competitive yet.