Yamaha is confident it will be a contender for the 2010 World Superbike Championship title, despite revealing an entirely new rider line-up for the new season.
Two-time World Superbike Champion James Toseland and World Supersport title contender Cal Crutchlow will form the manufacturer's all-British partnership in 2010 following the confirmation that Ben Spies will graduate to MotoGP earlier than anticipated.
For Yamaha, securing the services of Toseland comes after he Briton revealed was targeted by a series of other World Superbike team intent on luring a former champion into their midst.
Nonetheless, far from being bitter about his split with Yamaha in MotoGP, Toseland says he is delighted to be extending his relationship with the Japanese manufacturer, a sentiment echoed by its European racing manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp.
“The experience of James combined with the fresh talent of Cal should make it a very competitive and successful combination to challenge for the title again in 2010. I have no doubt that James will be as strong in World Superbike as before, or even stronger with the added experience he picked up in MotoGP and we're all very happy he stays with Yamaha.
The acquisition of Crutchlow also came after the five-time World Supersport race winner publicly floated the idea of a switch to the newly formed Moto2 series in 2010.
“For Cal it's a natural progression for both us and him to move up to the Yamaha World Superbike Team,” Koerkamp added. “”As a successful R6 Cup rider in the past and having proven his talent yet again in World Supersport this year we want to continue developing his career within Yamaha.”
Despite an its 'exciting' new line-up, Koerkamp went on to say that he is sorry to see Spies leave after just a single season, particularly after it was originally announced he would remain for one more year.
"Of course we're sorry to see Ben leave Yamaha's World Superbike program and we are currently enjoying a fantastic season with him, but it's clear that it's the right decision for Ben's career and for Yamaha.
“One of Yamaha's goals is to bring up future MotoGP talent through Superbike and it is satisfying for us to see that this rider development route is working. Before he moves we still have some serious business to finish with Ben this year at the remaining two rounds!
“Although Ben will be missed I have no doubt that our new World Superbike line-up for next year will see us once again challenging for the title. We will be cheering loudly for Ben in MotoGP and we look forward to seeing him on the YZR-M1.”