After a winter of celebration and anticipation, Yamaha Racing returns to off-road competition this Saturday to open the 2016 MXGP season under the floodlights in Qatar.
This year Yamaha Racing sends into the field its strongest off-road lineup ever, in every category. From the pinnacle of the sport at MXGP to the innovative YZ125 Cup in select European nations in search of the next generation of Yamaha champions, everywhere there is off-road racing there is a Yamaha motorcycle.
FIM World Champion and 2015 MXGP Rookie of the Year Romain Febvre will line up with his Monster Energy Yamaha Official teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek on technologically advanced YZ450FMs. Swiss rider Valentin Guillod makes his MXGP start with the Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team on the Yamaha YZ450F.
Van Horebeek won the MX1 Italian Championship in pre-season competition and arrives at the Losail track north of Doha in prime physical form. Teammate Febvre readies his title defense in full strength after a crash-shortened Italian Championship campaign that put five stitches in his elbow.
In MX2 the Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team returns with Benoit Paturel, fresh off a 2-for-3 race sweep in the South of France last weekend. He is joined by Brent Van doninck in his first full season of MX2 after a mid-year promotion in 2015.
At Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha there are new faces from Russia and Sweden. The dynamic Aleksandr Tonkov arrives fresh from pre-season podiums in Valence, and Alvin Östlund joins as a late replacement for the injured Julien Lieber after the young Swede's very impressive Top-10 finishes in the 3-race Italian Championship on Yamaha YZ250F technology.
Eric De Seynes - CEO Yamaha Motor Europe N.V.
"We start 2016 with the return of a great new sponsor: Monster Energy makes a strong alliance with Yamaha again to put Jeremy Van Horebeek and Romain Febvre on the YZ450FM in a season full of challenging competition and an exciting championship."
"Febvre's 2015 World Championship title in his rookie season fills all of us here at the Yamaha family with the pride of accomplishment, of a job well done, and sets a very high goal in the new year for everyone who is dedicated to impeccable professional achievement in motocross."
"This dedication is evident as our young and talented riders continue to grow and develop. With support from two of the best teams on the world circuit, Valentin, Benoit, Brent, Aleksandr, Alvin and Julien all have the motivation and capability to achieve top results at Kemea and Wilvo Standing Construct."
"The 2016 FIM World Championship will reveal its drama before us in 19 MXGP races around the globe, from Qatar this weekend to September's Motocross of Nations at Maggiora in Italy. Along the way each event promises an episode of entertaining and compelling off-road motorcycle racing against the best riders in the world, ending in October at a new race this year with the Manufacturer's Cup at the Veltins Arena."
"As a matter of pride we place our most talented off-road riders on our very best off-road motorcycles. In its showrooms and dealerships around the world, the YZ450F and the YZ250F are all excellent examples of what Yamaha has to offer, and our victory in the 2015 MXGP Manufacturer's Classification is a direct result of what Yamaha is working for every day."