Tanel Leok has signed to ride alongside double MX2 world champion Antonio Cairoli at Red Bull De Carli Yamaha in the 2009 MX1 World Championship.
The 23-year-old Estonian - who won the 2008 Grand Prix of Ireland for Kawasaki, but has often struggled to replicate superb qualifying speed on race day - will be stepping onto a Yamaha for the first time in his grand prix career, having made his GP debut with Suzuki before switching to Team Green.
"This is a great opportunity for me, the team looks really impressive and I am looking forward to getting started," said Leok. "They have a workshop in Belgium which means I can still be based there but doing things like the Italian championship and testing in southern Europe will be a new adventure.
"There will be new surroundings for me but I still want to be top five in the championship and hopefully top three; that is what I am working for and I know I have the speed."
On the prospect of linking up with Cairoli, Leok added: "He is a really good rider and it is positive to be able to work with someone like that."
"I have been following the professional career of Tanel for many years, although he's still so young!” commented team principal Claudio De Carli. "I have always appreciated his speed, his talent, and also is character, so quiet and positive. Thanks to the great support from Red Bull, Yamaha, and all the other sponsors; my team is entering in the MX1 class with the best effort to be competitive."
"With Tanel joining Tony and together with our factory team Yamaha will have a very strong presence in the 2009 MX1-GP world championship," remarked Yamaha Motor Europe's Racing division manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp. "This year we were delighted to win the world championship and reclaim our crown and you only have to look at the talent we have for next season with David, Josh, Tony moving up and now Tanel to realise that we are firmly aiming to be protagonists once again. Full credit to Claudio, he has a very talented and determined pair of riders to enter the class next year and we look forward to seeing what they can do."