News 19 Aug 2019

Yamaha 2020 MXGP restructure makes Wilvo official factory team

Paulin, Tonus and Seewer to make up three-rider squad next year.

Image: Supplied.

A restructure in Yamaha’s racing efforts for the 2020 MXGP World Championship will see the Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha team become the official factory outfit next season while fielding three riders, the move calling an end to Michele Rinaldi’s 28-year-long term as team owner and manager of Yamaha Factory Racing in the grand prix series.

In 2020, Rinaldi and his highly skilled team will focus on the research and development of Yamaha’s Factory YZ450FM and YZ250FM motorcycles from the team’s headquarters in Parma, Italy.

The Wilvo team will retain its current contingent of riders, Gautier Paulin and Arnaud Tonus, and will be bolstered by a third rider in the form of Jeremy Seewer. All four riders currently make up the top-four in the 2019 MXGP standings, with Seewer leading the way in second position, 37-points clear of Paulin in third, and a further 43-points clear of Tonus in fourth.

Strengthening Yamaha’s upgraded racing strategy, the Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2 Team owned by Hans Corvers will be morphed into the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team. The team will line-up in 2020 with the same talented riders from this season, Jago Geerts and Ben Watson.

“Changing a structure that has proven to work is always a challenge, however the only way to remain competitive and to be capable to evolve is to maximise the potential of all available resources,” explained Yamaha Motor Europe marketing and motorsport manager Paolo Pavesio.

“The experience Michele and his crew have developed in those decades, together with the growth of support from Yamaha Motor Company in Japan, will secure our new factory team riders in MXGP and MX2 the best Yamaha MX racing package. I therefore would like to thank him, Louis and Hans for the energy they are already putting in the new organization… while of course we are all concentrated on finishing the current season as protagonists.”

Rinaldi added: “We’re starting a new chapter of what has been an amazing tale that started a long time ago. When I first started out, my ambition was to start my own team, and I did this, with Yamaha since 1992. Since around 1998, I started to work directly with the manufacturer and with the development of Yamaha’s YZ motorcycles, while managing my own team.

“Over the years, my relationship with Yamaha in Japan and in Europe has developed to the point that I have been able to represent the manufacturer more than before, providing a service and support to the company. So, the story has gone from running my own team to starting our own development, and now it’s the time for the next chapter.

“A time for change where we will represent the manufacturer more than ever before with a focus more on being a support network and stepping away from running my own team. This is certainly a big change, also for my staff who have made all of our achievements over the years possible, but I am optimistic for the future where together we will make the most from this new adventure.”

Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha team owner, Louis Vosters, spoke of the outfit’s appointment as the official factory team, stating he always endeavoured to build a long-term strategy with the Japanese manufacturer.

“Since the beginning, I had the intention to build a long-term relationship with Yamaha as they have a strong strategy and a great racing philosophy that fits perfectly with our team,” Voster commented. “Like us, they also look to build strong long-term relationships, which I like.

“For my team to reach Factory status is an incredible feeling. I really look forward to the future, to working with the Factory bikes, and with Michele [Rinaldi] and with the Japanese technicians as well. For me, it’s like a dream come true and an enormous step for us as a team.”