Former world champion Fabien Foret has signed to race an factory-supported Yamaha YZF-R6 for the Belgarda team in next year's Supersport World Championship.

The Frenchman has proven credentials in the class, having won the world title in 2002, and comes to the team after a season of developing a new bike for rival manufacturer Kawasaki. Despite working with a brand new machine, Foret put in a highly creditable performance, winning at Misano on his way to ninth place in the overall standings. The Frenchman is no stranger to Yamaha, however, having finished second in both the 1999 French Superbike and Superstock championships on board R-series models.

"I am very happy to sign for Yamaha Belgarda because I know how competitive the bike is already and so I will be able to concentrate on trying to win the world title straightaway," he said of his return to the Yamaha fold, "I cannot wait for next week's tests, when I'll be able to throw my leg over the R6 for the first time. I am sure that the Yamaha-Foret partnership is going to be a very successful one which will give us all a lot of pleasure."

Completing the cosmopolitan Belgarda line-up will be Jurgen van den Goorbergh. As announced earlier this year, the team was keen to retain the Dutch rider after a string of strong performances in his debut World Supersport season. Despite having no previous four-stroke experience, van den Goorbergh finished third in the final standings and, along with Foret, will form a formidable challenge in 2004.

"We are sure and happy that we have two riders who can win the Supersport World Championship in 2004," commented Belgarda's racing manager Claudio Consonni, "They are a perfect mix of an attacker and a thinker!"

Foret's signing means that there is no room in the two-man team for former 125cc grand prix winner Simone Sanna, who jumped from the GP series to WSS alongside van den Goorbergh after testing impressively in the winter of 2002-03.

"It's the first time in Belgarda's Racing history without an Italian rider," Consonni admitted, "It is a sorry fact, but we are more and more an international team and we must try and compete with the strongest squad. It doesn't mean that there are no up and coming riders in Italy, but just that our present structure does not allow for Italian rider at present."

It is not clear whether Sanna will look to stay in the WSS championship or seek a return to GPs.

 

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