The PATA Yamaha team has officially launched its 2017 World Superbike Championship campaign as it looks to reassert itself as a front runner in its second season racing the latest generation R1.
The Japanese firm returned to World Superbikes in a full factory capacity last year under the guidance of Crescent Racing but in a year stymied by injuries for riders Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli it only notched up a single podium finish.
Ahead of the 2017 WSBK season, Lowes stays on board with Michael van der Mark switching from Honda as Yamaha target a sizeable step up in performance that it hopes will see it get on terms with the current dominant force of Kawasaki and Ducati.
Unveiled at a presentation in Germo di Lesmo near Monza, the Yamaha WSBK effort heads up a broadened Yamaha racing project that also includes a factory effort in the World Supersport class with the all-new Yamaha R6 and the Superstock 1000 series, as well as the new Supersport 300 series.
Lucas Mahias and Federico Caricasulo will head up Yamaha's renewed effort in the Superspot class, with Florian Marino returning from the injuries that sidelined him for much of the 2016 season to compete in Superstock 1000 alongside Roberto Tamburini.
The Supersport 300 class, which will feature the YZF-R3, features six youngsters in Robert Schotman, Enzo de la Vega, Kimi Patova, Renzo Ferreira, Mykyta Kalnin and Alfonso Coppola. As an added incentive, Yamaha has launched the bLU cRU Challenge, which will reward the highest-placed Yamaha rider in the series.
Hi-res images to follow