Yamaha Motor Europe is delighted to announce its official line up for the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team will once again lead the way as Yamaha’s reference team, but this year they’ll be joined on the grid by the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK Team, who step up to the premier production class for the 2019 season.
2019 marks the fourth year for the partnership between Yamaha and Crescent Racing and both parties are keen to build on the success of the 2018 season, during which the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK riders, Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes, secured three race wins and a total of 14 podium finishes between them. Van der Mark and Lowes remain with the team for the coming season, with both keen to add to their tally of wins as they look to challenge for the championship in 2019.
Having achieved everything possible in WorldSSP, including winning the World Championship crown in 2017, GRT Yamaha face a new challenge in 2019, as the team step up to contest the FIM Superbike World Championship for the first time. Former 250cc World Champion and WorldSBK race winner Marco Melandri is joined at GRT Yamaha by the reigning WorldSSP Champion Sandro Cortese, who swaps last year’s title-winning YZF-R6 for the race winning Yamaha YZF-R1 WorldSBK machine this season.
The Pata Yamaha and GRT Yamaha teams are currently testing in Europe, but in February both teams will head south of the equator to test and then race at the iconic Phillip Island Circuit in Australia, venue for the opening round of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship.
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager
“We are pleased with the way the Yamaha Motor Europe racing program has progressed. We saw a clear improvement in 2018, with not just our YZF-R1 reaching maturity but also our racing operation at the track and our operation in the factory. For this reason I’m very happy to confirm our relationship with Crescent Racing as our reference team in WorldSBK will continue for the 2019 season, with Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes as the riders once again. I truly believe that continuity is critical for success in motorsport. If we can continue to work in the same way as we did in 2018 and strive to achieve the consistency that was maybe missing last year, I am confident we can make a further step in the right direction. The 2019 season will be a strategic one for us. The arrival of GRT Yamaha in WorldSBK means we now have four riders on the grid, which gives us a good opportunity to speed up development of the bike, but it’s also the final piece in our rider development program. We now have a program in place for young riders that starts with the Yamaha bLU cRU project and extends all the way to WorldSBK with a competitive machine and a competitive team. So I’m pleased to welcome GRT Yamaha to WorldSBK with Marco Melandri and Sandri Cortese, with the latter, having won the 2018 WorldSSP Championship aboard a Yamaha, being a clear example of the rider development program in action.”