Yamaha announce Yoshikawa as replacement for injured Rossi
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
The experienced test rider will stand in for the Fiat Yamaha team from the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya until the World Champion is back to full fitness.
Yamaha Motor Racing have confirmed that their experienced test rider Wataru Yoshikawa will join the Fiat Yamaha team for the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya on July 4th, riding in place of injured World Champion Valentino Rossi until the Italian is back to full fitness following his broken leg.
Yoshikawa, a two-time Japanese superbike champion, will ride Rossi’s YZR-M1 for the Italian’s side of the Fiat Yamaha garage and is expected to be with the team for at least three races, after which more is expected to be known about Rossi’s expected return date.
Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing Srl, Lin Jarvis, said: “We have considered many different scenarios and candidate riders to fill the temporary vacant seat in the Fiat Yamaha Team. We had always planned to use a rider from within the Yamaha Motor & Tech 3 family but for each rider we considered who is in active competition, their move to the Fiat Yamaha Team would have created another problem for their own racing programme or for the teams in which they are engaged.”
“Finally, after a great deal of consideration, we have selected Wataru Yoshikawa, our Japanese YZR-M1 test rider, to join us as our substitute rider. We provisionally plan for three races (Catalunya, Sachsenring and Laguna Seca) but we will adjust the plan accordingly when we know more about Valentino's expected date of return.”
Yoshikawa, who has ridden as a wildcard once before in MotoGP when he finished 12th at Motegi in 2002, stated: "I'm happy to have this chance to stand in for Valentino while he is recovering and to compete in MotoGP again. Looking at the Fiat Yamaha Team results with the 2010 YZR-M1, I can see that the winter developments were correct and now I am looking forward to having the chance to gather some ‘real racing' data, which will be very helpful for the future development of the M1."
Jarvis further welcomed the experience and knowledge of 41 year-old Yoshikawa, adding: “The benefit of Wataru's presence in our team will be threefold. Firstly he brings with him a wealth of experience riding the YZR-M1. Secondly his presence allows us to fulfil our contractual obligations and to join the team's quest to accumulate points for the Team Championship. Thirdly he will gain valuable first hand MotoGP race experience in three challenging circuits which will surely be very useful to assist him and Yamaha with the future development of the YMR-M1. We look forward to welcoming Wataru into our team while we wait for Valentino's return to full fitness."