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]
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