Yamaha WorldSBK Teams Ready to Get 2020 Season Underway in Jerez
The three Yamaha powered WorldSBK teams have arrived in Jerez for the first test of the 2020 season, which takes place on 22nd and 23rd January. The Pata Yamaha squad will once again lead the way as Yamaha’s Official WorldSBK Team, but they can expect some competition again this season from both the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior and Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSBK Supported teams.
2020 marks the fifth year for the partnership between Yamaha and Crescent Racing and both parties head into the new season keen to build on the success of 2018 and 2019, during which they secured 31 podium finishes and four race wins together.
Michael van der Mark returns in 2020 for his fourth season with the Pata Yamaha squad, with his sights set firmly on the top step of the podium. The 27-year-old Dutch rider has been a consistent WorldSBK front runner in recent years, racking up 20 podium finishes and three race wins aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1, but heads into the new season determined to play a bigger part in the battle for the championship.
Joining van der Mark at Pata Yamaha for 2020 will be Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, the most exciting young rider on the WorldSBK grid. Combining raw speed and fierce determination, the 23-year-old Turkish rider was one of the standout riders of 2019, securing his maiden WorldSBK win with a scintillating performance in Race 1 at Magny-Cours. Razgatlıoğlu was quick to adapt to the Yamaha YZF-R1 during testing at the end of 2019 and he is keen to establish himself as a championship contender as he heads into the new season.
The GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team will field an exciting international rider line-up for the 2020 FIM Superbike World Championship season, with Italian Federico Caricasulo and American Garrett Gerloff both making their WorldSBK debut aboard the GRT Yamaha YZF-R1 machines.
Caricasulo is already familiar with the GRT Yamaha squad, having contested the FIM Supersport World Championship with them in 2017 and 2018, taking his YZF-R6 to ten podium finishes and three race wins during his two seasons with the team. The 23-year-old Italian also knows the majority of the tracks on the WorldSBK calendar but will have to adapt his Supersport derived riding style during preseason testing to better suit the heavier and more powerful YZF-R1 on which he’ll contest his debut WorldSBK season.
Gerloff is also a rider with a winning pedigree. The 24-year-old Texan was MotoAmerica Supersport Champion in 2016 and 2017 and secured his first podium finish on his debut for the Yamaha Factory Superbike Team in 2018. The Texan remained with Yamaha in 2019, securing four race wins and 15 podium finishes on his way to finishing third overall in his second full season of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship. Gerloff was quick to adapt to the WorldSBK specification YZF-R1 during testing at the end of 2019 and remains unfazed by the fact that every track he races at this season will be new to him.
A veteran at just 26 years of age, Frenchman Loris Baz returns to action as the sole rider with the Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSBK Supported Team in 2020. The team made their return to WorldSBK part way through 2019 and Baz racked up ten top-ten finishes over the course of the season to finish an impressive tenth in the championship standings, despite missing the first five rounds. In 2020 Baz is looking to build on his impressive 2019 form and regularly challenge for the podium.
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager
2020 marks the fifth season since Yamaha’s return to WorldSBK competition in 2016 with the YZF-R1 and we are excited to see the next step in our evolution! Yamaha’s Official Team, operated in close partnership with Crescent Racing, has improved every year both in potential and result, securing third and fourth overall in the 2019 Championship. As Yamaha, we have continued to improve our development capabilities, the team has improved its level, and now we also have the new 2020 YZF-R1 to help us challenge for victories. Alongside this, Yamaha’s Official Team has one of the most exciting rider line-ups ever seen in WorldSBK, as Toprak Razgatlıoğlu joins Michael van der Mark to create a talented, young, aggressive team that we hope will allow us to challenge for the World Championship title, our ultimate goal.
The GRT squad embarks upon its second year of WorldSBK competition with a strengthened team structure and, more importantly, a full season of experience to draw from. Supported as our Junior Team for 2020 onwards, the GRT Yamaha platform is an important addition to the bLU cRU rider development program, allowing talented younger Yamaha riders to progress to the very top of the production racing pyramid. Having shown winning ability and fighting spirit in 2019’s MotoAmerica series on his Yamaha USA YZF-R1, we are delighted to welcome Garrett Gerloff to WorldSBK, who joins 23-year-old Italian Federico Caricasulo, last year’s World Supersport runner-up on his R6, in the GRT squad. Both these riders are very ambitious, and we look forward to seeing them progressing as the season develops and challenging the fastest riders in the Championship.
Our fifth Yamaha R1 rider in the 2020 series, Loris Baz, continues his partnership with the Ten Kate Racing team further to very encouraging performances since re-joining the Championship in the sixth round of 2019. The Ten Kate Yamaha team has a proven pedigree and, combined with Loris’ talents and Yamaha’s support, has shown that the R1 machine can be immediately competitive as a customer package. Going into 2020, we expect some exciting results from Loris, a rider who always gives 100%!
The WorldSBK Championship continues to evolve in a positive direction and Yamaha is planning to be one of the main protagonists as the season develops, in addition to our winning targets in World Supersport and World Supersport300. We look forward to being joined by Yamaha’s fans at the 2020 races!