Yamaha Motor Europe would like to announce the addition of 18-year-old Dutch rider Joep Overbeeke to the 2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge. Overbeeke will replace Alessandro Arcangeli in the six-rider strong lineup that will compete in the 2018 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship, with the 15-year-old Italian focusing instead on riding his Yamaha R3 full time in the CIV and being given the opportunity for a number of wildcards on the world stage throughout the season. Overbeeke joins the other five riders who were announced after the recent Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Masterclass, Luca Bernardi (16) from Italy, his fellow Dutchman Dennis Koopman (20), Notis Papapavlou (17) from Greece, French rider Hugo de Cancellis (16) and the 18-year-old Indonesian Galang Hendra Pratama who won the final race of the 2017 WorldSSP300 season in Jerez as a wildcard.
Overbeeke starred in the Dutch National Yamaha R3 Cup in 2017, finishing the season as vice-champion and second only to fellow 2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge rider Koopman. He impressed the bLU cRU Ambassadors – GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team’s David Checa and Niccolò Canepa, GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team’s Federico Caricasulo, and the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner Alfonso Coppola – at the two-day Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Masterclass held at Latina, Italy on the 26-28th of October, narrowly missing out on being selected in the first place. The decision was taken to give Arcangeli, who impressed in last year’s Italian R3 Cup and was part of the original six bLU cRU riders for 2018, the chance to develop his potential riding his R3 for one season in the Italian CIV Supersport 300 class, plus he will get the chance to showcase his talent on the world stage with the opportunity for a number of wildcard rides alongside the bLU cRU riders in the 2018 WorldSSP300 Championship.
The road-racing side of the Yamaha bLU cRU project has already borne impressive fruit, despite 2017 being its inaugural year. Alfonso Coppola, who won the 2017 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge, only just missed out on the overall WorldSSP300 Championship title by one-point after a sensational season for the 20-year-old Italian, with all six bLU cRU riders showing excellent progress throughout the year and Galang Hendra starring as a wildcard in Portimao and Jerez. As the winner of the challenge, Coppola is now guaranteed a Yamaha supported ride in a higher class, with the same prize on offer to whoever comes out on top in the 2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge. This 2018 season marks the next stage in this remarkable project from Yamaha, that aims to identify, nurture and develop the best young riding talent and provide them with a clear career path to the top level of motorcycle racing.
The 2018 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship kicks off at the third round of the full WorldSBK Championship in Aragon on the 13-15th of April 2018, with all of the young Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders eager to showcase their skills.
2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider
“I was really happy and surprised when I got the great news that I would get to take part in the 2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge. I’m really looking forward to the season and getting to race in the Supersport 300 World Championship, plus being a part of the Yamaha bLU cRU project. I will work very hard to achieve my goal, to finish in the top three overall in the championship and to win the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge. I would like to thank Yamaha Motor Europe and the bLU cRU Ambassadors very much for this opportunity!”
Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager
“We would like to welcome Joep onboard the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge! His talent was clear to see for everyone at the recent bLU cRU Masterclass but, unfortunately, there simply weren’t enough slots available to include him in the original selection. Alessandro is a real young talent and has decided that it would be better for him if he spent next season racing in the CIV on his Yamaha R3, to give him a chance to develop his skills more before trying to make it on the world stage full-time in 2019. It will be an interesting season for both riders, who know what they have to do and I wish them good luck and all the best for 2018!”