Instead of holding individual press conferences to debut its various factory racing teams, Yamaha decided to bring them all together under one roof for the press to see them all at once.
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Yamaha Motor Europe Launches 2017 Racing Challenge in Italy
As the new racing season draws closer, Yamaha Motor Europe N.V. has taken a moment between preseason testing activities to gather all of the Official Race Teams together to kick-off the 2017 Road and Off-Road line up. The international racing media were invited to join the Official Race Teams Press Conference on 7th February at the headquarters of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team in Gerno di Lesmo, Italy.
Hosted for the third year running by MotoGP Championship commentator Gavin Emmett, the event saw an impressive 15 teams and 41 riders and their team managers unveil their 2017 liveries and Yamaha machinery to the gathered press and partners. Prior to the teams unveiling, Yamaha Motor Europe N.Vs Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Eric de Seynes took a moment to share his insights on not just the 2017 line up, but also on Yamahas racing strategy and a sales review of Off-Road and Supersport market segments.
Rally and Enduro It was then time to meet the teams, so Yamaha Motor Europes Rally and Enduro Racing Manager Alexandre Kowalski took to the stage to give a heros welcome for Yamahas Dakar riders. Fresh from a strong outing in the 2017 edition, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider Adrien van Beveren was a stand out performer on only his second Dakar, missing out on a podium finish by less than one minute last month to take fourth overall and a final stage win. Xavier de Soultrait was also present at the event, having been one of the key protagonists of the Dakar on a newly developed, customer targeted WR450F Rally that will be soon introduced, and that delivered him a stage victory on the opening days of the Rally.
It was then time to introduce Outsiders Yamaha Official Enduro Team rider Loïc Larrieu who will challenge in EnduroGP class and Enduro 2 class rider Jamie McCanney, along with Johansson Yamaha Junior Enduro Team talent Mikael Persson. Larrieu, McCanney and Persson will spearhead Yamahas Enduro challenges this season, showcasing what the WR450F and WR250F are capable of.
Motocross Continuing the off-road line up, Yamaha Motor Europe N.Vs MX Racing Manager Erik Eggens shared the strategy for the coming year before making room for The Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP Factory Team, who were present to reveal their 2017 colours. 2015 World Champion Romain Febvre and 2014 Vice Champion Jeremy van Horebeek continue together this season, both in full physical fitness and determined to put the YZ450FM at the sharp end of MXGP action.
Stepping up alongside the Factory Team into the MXGP class from The MX2 Championship comes The Wilvo Yamaha MXGP Team. Wilvo Yamaha will make a real effort for podium glory with the YZ450F in the very capable hands of MX stars Shaun Simpson, who claimed his first ever Grand Prix win aboard a Yamaha back in 2013 at Lierop, and Arnaud Tonus, a former MX2 Grand Prix winner in Brazil in 2014, who is making his very welcome return to the FIM Motocross World Championship after spending the last two years in the AMA Motocross and Supercross Championships in America.
Yamaha will still be represented in MX2 with the very capable KEMEA Yamaha Official MX2 Team continuing with the unchanged line up of 2016s MX2 third place finisher Benoit Paturel, set to continue impressing on the YZ250F alongside teammate Brent Van doninck. The inspired pairing are joined for this season by Swedish talent Alvin Östlund. Together all three riders are ready to shake things up in the 2017 FIM Motocross MX2 World Championship.
Former MX1 World Champion David Philippaerts, and The SDM Corse MX Team, join forces for 2017 to represent Yamaha in the EMX250 Championship, the pairing creates the ASTES4-TESAR Yamaha Official EMX250 Team, a strengthened force to be reckoned with ready to grow the talents of 2015 MX125 Junior World Champion Maxime Renaux, Roan van de Moosdijk and Kãrlis Sabulis as their three rider line up.
Stepping up to his dream role in 2017 as an Official Yamaha rider is young Swedish hopeful Tim Edberg, winner of the 2016 Yamaha YZ125 CUP. Edberg will represent The MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 Team alongside two more of Europes hottest young talents, Hollands Rick Elzinga and Frances Thibault Benistant.
Last but by no means least to be presented for the offroad challenge were Yamahas female MX stars 2016 Vice World Champion Nancy van de Ven and four time World Champion Kiara Fontanesi. Returning to Yamaha and hunting for her fifth world title, Fontanesi is a force to be reckoned with in her Fonta Yamaha Official WMX Team. 2016 WMX Championship runner up van de Ven is looking to reach the top step in 2017 with her NoFear NVD Yamaha Official MX Team.
Although not present at the press conference, New Zealand rider Courtney Duncan will step up alongside the two with her Altherm Yamaha Official WMX Team as a very real challenger for the title.