Fiat Yamaha have announced that Japanese test rider Wataru Yoshikawa will be replacing Valentino Rossi while he is out injured with a broken leg.
Wataru Yoshikawa is a previous 2 time Japanese Superbike rider and will be stepping into the hotseat from the Catalunya MotoGP and will remain until Rossi has recovered from his injuries and is able to return.
Yamaha considered various options in finding a replacement for Rossi, including taking Edwards from the Tech-3 team and replacing him with Cal Crutchlow. Crutchlow eventually opted to continue his focus on WSBK and as a result Colin Edwards will remain with Tech-3 and Yoshikawa now takes the factory Yamaha.
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing 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 and 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 program 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.
“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 fulfill 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.”
Wataru Yoshikawa said:
“I’m happy to have this chance to stand-in for Valentino while he is recovering and to compete in MotoGP again for the first time since 2002, when I raced at Motegi. 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.”
Wataru Yoshikawa Racing Biography
Born: 26th September 1968, Tokyo
Wataru Yoshikawa won the Japanese Superbike Championship for Yamaha in 1994 and 1999. Between 1992 and 2002 he made many wild-card appearances in the World Superbike Championship for Yamaha and in 1996 completed a full season, finishing 9th. He raced as a wild card once in MotoGP in 2002, finishing 12th. Since then he has been heavily involved as a test rider for the Yamaha MotoGP programme, giving him an in-depth knowledge of the YZR-M1.
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