Yamaha have announced that they will withdraw their factory team from the Superbike World Championship. The Japanese manufacturer, which powered Ben Spies to the title in 2009, took the decision following a “full strategic review of the Marketing Operations within Europe including all Motorsport activities”.

In an official statement, Yamaha explained that the decision “takes into account the continuing severe and rapidly changing Powered Two Wheeler market conditions throughout the region.

“Due to this decision more resource and focus will now be used for direct “Customer“ activities to ultimately add more value to Yamaha ownership and increased Customer Satisfaction.”

“YME would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation for the total commitment, support, and passion shown by the extremely professional and dedicated riders and team members both past and present throughout the many years of participation in the FIM Superbike World Championship. YME would also like to thank all the highly valued business partners and suppliers who have in-turn supported the team and in addition would like to thank Infront Motorsports, the FIM Superbike World Championship promoters. YME has chosen this timing of announcement to ensure that all existing obligations are correctly met, and to not limit any opportunities or future planning for all personnel involved.”

The YZF-R1 has been responsible for five victories so far this year, only bettered by the dominant Ducati 1098R with Marco Melandri taking three wins to go with Eugene Laverty's spectacular double at Monza.

The pair are third and fourth respectively in the championship standings, with Melandri still in with an outside chance of taking the title, but any success will be the last for Yamaha as an official factory entrant.

The statement continued, saying YME and the team will continue to give its maximum efforts until the end of the existing season to try and regain the World Superbike title which Yamaha also won in 2009.”

“Yamaha will continue the availability of road racing kit parts, known as YEC Racing kit parts, for its R1 and R6 production models for private teams entering at all racing levels.”