Yamaha has announced it is officially returning to WSBK in 2016 in collaboration with highly experienced partner Crescent Racing and title sponsors PATA. The team will place the new YZF-R1 in the talented hands of 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli and 2013 British Superbike Champion Alex Lowes.
The prospect of Guintoli and Lowes promises to be a tantalising one, blending experience and exuberance.
Frenchman Guintoli has over 15 years experience in racing, with 45 podiums, 10 race wins and the 2014 WSBK title to his credit, in classes spanning 250cc, MotoGP, BSB and WSB. Lowes is no rookie himself, and has taken 20 podiums, eight wins and six pole positions on his way to his 2013 BSB title. He has also competed with Crescent for the last two seasons so is no stranger to the team or the WSBK series.
The news sees Yamaha make a welcome return to the series, and the manufacturer has an impressive history in the championship – 2009 saw Yamaha take their first World Superbike Championship title, breaking multiple records throughout the season with American rider Ben Spies on board. Iconic riders such as Noriyuki Haga, Troy Corser, James Toseland, Marco Melandri and Cal Crutchlow, among others, have all taken their turns delivering countless victories on the YZF-R1 throughout Yamaha’s Superbike career.
Crescent will partner Yamaha as their fully-supported Official WSBK Team from 2016. Crescent is the World Superbike Championship’s only UK-based team and has 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.
Yamaha Motor Europe Chief Operating Officer, Eric De Seynes, said: “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. 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.”