Riding again for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team will be Katsuyuki Nakasuga, the defending champion and current holder of four consecutive titles in the pinnacle JSB1000 class of the All Japan Road Race Championship, and MotoGP regular Pol Espargaró, who put Yamaha in pole position last year with an incredible flying lap, despite it being his first time to race at Suzuka and aboard the YZF-R1. The two star riders that helped bring Yamaha its stunning Suzuka 8 Hours win last year will be joined by Alex Lowes, who rides for Yamaha in its return to the World Superbike Championship this year. The team manager will be Wataru Yoshikawa, the current manager of Yamaha's All Japan Road Race Championship factory team.
As for the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team led by manager Mandy Kainz, it will field team regular Broc Parkes, who is competing this season in the Endurance World Championship, and Kouta Nozane and Takuya Fujita, two young but top riders competing in the All Japan Championship's premier class.
Also, this year will see Monster Energy as the main sponsor of both Yamaha teams. Monster Energy is a key partner in Yamaha's quest for victory in racing series around the world, such as the MotoGP World Championship, the Motocross World Championship and the AMA Supercross Championship. Yamaha's entries will have the valuable support of Monster Energy and a host of other sponsors as they battle to repeat last year's success at Suzuka.
As Yamaha Motor celebrated its 60th anniversary last season, concerted global efforts were made to energize our racing activities, such as the introduction of the new YZF-R1 to the race scene. The result was not only a victory at the previous Suzuka 8 Hours but also numerous wins and championship titles in production-based racing in Japan, Europe and North America. These successes did much to boost Yamaha's presence in the world's markets.
Yamaha is pursuing a more aggressive policy for racing activities this season, which includes returning to the World Superbike Championship, and this entry of two factory teams in the Suzuka 8 Hours is another example of this strengthened policy.
Yamaha will be aiming to win a second consecutive victory this year in the legendary Suzuka 8 Hours and further strengthen the presence of the YZF-R1 in Japan and abroad. And like last year, we will be seeking new gains in technological expertise, promoting development of human resources and sharing the excitement and rewarding experiences of motorsport as an embodiment of our "Revs your Heart" Brand Slogan.
Read original release on yamaha-motor.com
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