After a winter of celebration and anticipation, Yamaha Racing returns to off-road competition this Saturday to open the 2016 MXGP season under the floodlights in Qatar.
This year Yamaha Racing sends into the field its strongest off-road lineup ever, in every category. From the pinnacle of the sport at MXGP to the innovative YZ125 Cup in select European nations in search of the next generation of Yamaha champions, everywhere there is off-road racing there is a Yamaha motorcycle.
FIM World Champion and 2015 MXGP Rookie of the Year Romain Febvre will line up with his Monster Energy Yamaha Official teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek on technologically advanced YZ450FMs. Swiss rider Valentin Guillod makes his MXGP start with the Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team on the Yamaha YZ450F.
Van Horebeek won the MX1 Italian Championship in pre-season competition and arrives at the Losail track north of Doha in prime physical form. Teammate Febvre readies his title defence in full strength after a crash-shortened Italian Championship campaign that put five stitches in his elbow.
In MX2 the Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team returns with Benoit Paturel, fresh off a 2-for-3 race sweep in the South of France last weekend. He is joined by Brent Van doninck in his first full season of MX2 after a mid-year promotion in 2015.
At Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha there are new faces from Russia and Sweden. The dynamic Aleksandr Tonkovarrives fresh from pre-season podiums in Valence, and Alvin Östlund joins as a late replacement for the injured Julien Lieber after the young Swede’s very impressive Top-10 finishes in the 3-race Italian Championship on Yamaha YZ250F technology.