Yamaha's test rider Kohta Nozane makes his WorldSBK debut in 2021 with GRT Yamaha, after replacing former WorldSSP runner-up in 2019 Federico Caricasulo, who moves back down to the intermediate class for this year. 

With his preparations in full swing, the 25 year-old Japanese rider also got a taste of MotoGP action at the two recent Qatar tests alongside the team's factory riders and new test rider for 2021 Cal Crutchlow. 

This was not Nozane's first MotoGP action so far in his career however, as he completed a race for the team in 2017 at Motegi as a test rider. 

Yamaha were one of the strongest teams at the test, with Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo looking in brilliant form ahead of the new season. 

Nozane's efforts did not go unnoticed for the team, as Vinales and team manager Massimo Meregalli had positive things to say about his performance. 

Vinales said: "I was able to talk to him. All of the Yamaha riders are really involved with each other to understand what they tried and what they are feeling.

"Nozane was improving day-by-day which is important as he is a young rider, but the M1 is very different to the R1. He did a good job on the M1 in MotoGP™, so for sure it will be a bit different going back to WorldSBK on the R1."

Nozane first burst onto the scene in the J-GP2 series back in 2013, as he claimed the title before claiming the JSB1000 championship in 2020; a title that secured him a move to World Superbike.

Speaking about his efforts for the team over the six days, Meregalli added: "This year, due to the difficult circumstances, we haven’t been able to make a proper shakedown test in Japan, nor in Spain.

"We have been forced to send the full testing squad to Qatar and luckily, Kohta could join. We had plenty to test and his support has been very, very important.

"So far, he has done a really good job and hopefully, it will give him some advantage when it comes to his rookie WorldSBK season.”