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Yamaha to Withdraw from World Superbike

Monday, August 1, 2011
Yamaha Racing
This just in from Yamaha Racing: the team will officially withdraw from the World Superbike Championship at the end of the 2011 season. The surprising news comes on the heels of a full strategic review of marketing operations in Europe and the rapidly changing conditions in the motorcycle industry. As a result of this review, Yamaha has decided to cut ties with its racing endeavors and instead focus on customer activities.
 
Part of what makes Yamaha’s decision so unexpected is that in late July the team extended its contracts with riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty into 2012. Both scored podiums in the last round at Silverstone, with Laverty nearly getting his third win of the season. Yamaha says it will continue to provide the utmost support for its riders until the end of the existing season, and also states that the timing of the decision was made to ensure all existing obligations would be met. However, the suddenness of the team’s decision leaves one to question just how dire things have become in the two-wheeled market.
 
For more info on this breaking development, read Yamaha's official press release below:

Yamaha Motor Europe N.V. (YME) has decided to withdraw their official Yamaha World Superbike Team at the end of the current season from the FIM Superbike World Championship. This announcement follows a full strategic review of the Marketing Operations within Europe including all Motorsport activities and takes into account the continuing severe and rapidly changing Powered Two Wheeler market conditions throughout the region. Due to this decision more resource and focus will now be used for direct "Customer" activities to ultimately add more value to Yamaha ownership and increased Customer Satisfaction.

YME would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation for the total commitment, support, and passion shown by the extremely professional and dedicated riders and team members both past and present throughout the many years of participation in the FIM Superbike World Championship. YME would also like to thank all the highly valued business partners and suppliers who have in-turn supported the team and in addition would like to thank Infront Motorsports, the FIM Superbike World Championship promoters. YME has chosen this timing of announcement to ensure that all existing obligations are correctly met, and to not limit any opportunities or future planning for all personnel involved.

Riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty are currently respectively 3rd and 4th in the overall 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship standings for riders with 4 rounds to go. YME and the team will continue to give its maximum efforts until the end of the existing season to try and regain the World Superbike title which Yamaha also won in 2009.

Yamaha will continue the availability of road racing kit parts, known as YEC Racing kit parts, for its R1 and R6 production models for private teams entering at all racing levels
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Comments
moto-pig.31   August 7, 2011 08:02 AM
doe,s this have anything to do with moto gp claiming rule,
or is moto gp the future superbike class.
woodco100   August 5, 2011 09:21 PM
folks are buying bikes. BMW, Ducati, Triumph, Victory all seeing strong sales increases in these tough times. Even HD is selling bikes and expanding profit.

What is not selling, in sport bikes or cruisers, is the same old generic japanese offerings.

Honda has gone off the deep end with this goofy DCT VFR and DN01(automatics are for minivans, you shift a motorcycle) and YamaSuziKawa all pretty much build the same thing. Lame-o lookalike, sound alike, whatever bikes.
Bret   August 4, 2011 10:14 AM
I'm not really surprised. Everyone seems to be pointing fingers as to why the racing is hard up for money. We are recovering from the most serious recession since the great depression. All through this period the price of even a 600cc sport bike has gone from roughly $8k to over $10k. 1000cc super bikes have jumped from $9k to $13k. Combine this with the fact that people needed to stop spending money on things they don't need and the answer is clear. Why spend money on racing if they aren't selling the production racing bikes? I say cut out the abs and traction control, save money and bring the prices back down.
nieseba   August 2, 2011 03:07 AM
Companies have to be able to reach a balance in their spending between racing and developing products for consumers. Yamaha and Honda both have both been on the same extreme of that spectrum, spending ridiculous amounts of money on racing programs while not improving their sportbikes in any significant way. As a fan of racing I do like companies that support the sport that I love. The Europeans have done a better job though at supporting race teams on whatever level they are capable of while still developing new products for consumers.
frankenfurter   August 1, 2011 05:41 PM
I suspected this was coming. In difficult financial times, it doesn't make any sense to maintain two world level racing teams. The wsb and motogp bikes are 98% the same anyway. I would bet that more brands will follow and ultimately there will be a cart/indy style showdown.
woodco100   August 1, 2011 05:36 PM
If they did not build bikes that are so ugly no one will buy them they might have some money to spend. Just saying is all.
Superbikemike   August 1, 2011 04:05 PM
i'm in shock.......... ;(
Oliver   August 1, 2011 03:00 PM
Following Ducati's model of customer bikes only? Seems to have worked for Ducati thus far; i.e., Carlos Checa.
bikerrandy   August 1, 2011 12:21 PM
Wasn't Ben Spies the only rider to ever win the WSBK Championship on a Yamaha? Since Ducati pulled out their factory team this year, look who's leading the title chase, Checa on a Ducati anyway. Smart $ move, Yamaha.