Yamaha have officially confirmed their return to World Superbikes for the 2016 season with Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli announced as their two riders. The Japanese manufacturer hasn’t competed in the series since withdrawing at the end of 2011 but together with the British-based Crescent squad and title sponsor PATA, they will be back in the mix next year.
Lowes currently rides for the Crescent-run Suzuki outfit and despite a podium finish in Thailand early in the season, he has endured a tough campaign with the GSX-R1000. Guintoli, who began the year as defending champion, has also struggled with an aging Honda CBR-1000RR and has failed to reach the rostrum all season.
They are likely to have competitive machinery underneath them in 2016 though with Yamaha’s YZF-R1 enjoying success across the world this year, most notably with its victory at the Suzuka 8 Hour, but also a national level with Carmelo Morales and Josh Brookes leading the CEV and British Superbike championships respectively.
Yamaha Motor Europe’s Chief Operating Officer, Eric De Seynes, is looking forward to the manufacturer’s comeback and is expecting big things from the new line-up.
“This is a very exciting moment for us as we eagerly wait to return to the top level of Superbike competition next year after an absence of four years. 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.”