Despite stepping down as Formula 1 deputy race director at the end of 2016, Herbie Blash has turned away a quieter life having taken an advisory role as part of Yamaha’s World Superbike project as the team continues to gain further support from Japan.

Blash has held a long association with Yamaha having worked as a sporting director during its time as an engine supplier in F1 in the early 1990s and while spending almost his entire career in F1 he has always taken a keen interest in motorcycle racing.

After announcing he was stepping down as F1 deputy race director to Charlie Whiting at the end of last year Blash was contacted by Yamaha to work as an advisor and director inside the Pata Yamaha set-up in World Superbikes.

Along with the addition of Blash, the factory Yamaha World Superbike squad has also seen support from Japan grow with two engineers joining for 2017, while the Crescent Racing-run squad is expected to run comparison tests to the three-time winning Suzuka 8 Hours-specification YZF-R1 in order to get the World Superbike bike up to speed against the dominant Ducati and Kawasaki squads.

“At the end of last year the President of Yamaha Europe asked for some assistance from Japan and at the same time Japan asked me when I was stepping down from F1 to come along and have a look to see if I could help in any areas,” Blash said. “So we now have two engineers from Japan working in the World Superbike team. One of them has a lot of experience in MotoGP.

“We’ve also been having the project leader of Yamaha MotoGP, Kouichi Tsuji, who has been to three races and will come to another race. So we are seeing more involvement from Japan.

“The team from the engine side has just moved from Germany to Italy so there are lots of things happening. Hopefully the team will be more competitive this year than last year and by the end of 2017 we should be in a good position for podiums.”

Pata Yamaha have collected two podiums so far in the 2017 World Superbike championship, which returns to action this weekend at the Lausitzring, and sits third in the world manufacturers’ championship but remains unable to match the pace of Kawasaki and Ducati.

While rumours of the World Superbike rules shake-up for 2018 continue, Pata Yamaha have opted for consistency by re-signing Alex Lowes for next year with Michael van der Mark set for his second year of his current contract which saw him switch from Honda to Yamaha last winter.