Yamaha announced it is withdrawing its factory World Superbike Championship race team following the end of the 2011 season.
The news comes as a bit of a surprise, just a week after reports the team had re-signed racer Marco Melandri for the 2012 season. On the other hand, the team has struggled to find a title sponsor this season, as has Yamaha’s MotoGP team.
According to Yamaha Motor Europe, the decision to leave the series came after a strategic review of the company’s marketing efforts across Europe. Yamaha decided it is better off focusing its efforts on its customers instead of racing.
Melandri and teammate Eugene Laverty have been having doing well so far this season, sitting third and fourth, respectively, in the championship standings with five wins between them. Melandri in particular has been on fire of late, appearing on the podium in seven of the previous eight races.
[Source: Yamaha Motor Europe]
Yamaha Official World Superbike Team withdraws at the end of 2011 season from World Championship
Yamaha Motor Europe N.V. (YME) has decided to withdraw their official Yamaha World Superbike Team at the end of the current season from the FIM Superbike World Championship.
This announcement follows a full strategic review of the Marketing Operations within Europe including all Motorsport activities and 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.
Riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty are currently respectively 3rd and 4th in the overall 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship standings for riders with 4 rounds to go. 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.