Yamaha VR46 Master Camp team unveil Moto2 colors | MotoGP

The new Yamaha VR46 Master Camp team has unveiled this Moto2 racing livery – combining Yamaha blue and white, with VR46 yellow – for Keminth Kubo and Manuel Gonzalez.

Although run by Valentino Rossi’s VR46 organization and using a Kalex chassis powered by the spec-Triumph engine, the Master Camp team is ‘wholly owned and financed’ by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd – meaning that it’s the first time the factory has been directly involved in the intermediate grand prix class since the 250cc days.

The World Championship team is the latest step in a collaboration between VR46 and Yamaha that began with the original five-day Master Camp training program for young riders, held at Rossi’s Tavullia Ranch, in July 2016.

Initially intended to help the development of young Asian talent, the selection of Master Camp riders later went global.

Gonzalez, the youngest winner of the WorldSSP300 title in 2019, joined the WorldSSP class in 2020, never finishing outside the top 10 before finishing seventh overall in the championship.

In 2021 he secured third place overall with seven podium finishes, including two race wins – a form he will now aim to repeat on Grand Prix machines.

“I’m really looking forward to starting this new season because this year I had the opportunity to take a big step for myself and for my career. Moving to the MotoGP paddock with this Moto2 team which is supported by Yamaha Motor Company and VR46 really makes me happy and even more motivated to give my all, show my potential and be a better driver and a better person,” he said.

“I am really grateful to have this opportunity and I will do my best to exploit it. During our first tests, I felt very good on the bike and I can’t wait to start the season with the team at the first race in Qatar!

Thai rider Kubo participated in the fifth edition of Master Camp in 2018. He and the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp team made their debut together in the CEV Moto2 category in 2019, where they have been racing for three years.

Ninth in his first pair of CEV seasons, Kubo finished eleventh in the 2021 CEV standings, matching his best race result of fourth. He also made a wild-card appearance in the Moto2 World Championship in Catalunya, finishing 26th.

“It is a great honor to be allowed to make my official debut in the Moto2 class with the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp team. I would like to thank Yamaha Motor Company, Thailand Yamaha Motor and VR46 for their confidence in me, and I will do everything possible to make them proud.

“We did two tests (Valencia and Jerez) this month. The bike is great, and I can’t wait to start the season. I already knew almost all the team members because I was a Master Camp rider in the CEV championship. I have a great relationship with all of them, especially with my team leader Alessandro Finelli.

“I know this new adventure is a new start, but I hope to do better every weekend, and I will work hard to achieve that goal.”

Kubo was only a few tenths slower than Gonzalez in this week’s private practice at Jerez, but both riders were around two seconds behind leader Ai Ogura.

The official Moto2 test takes place in Portimao this weekend.

The Master Camp team will be led by Gelete Nieto, brother of Pablo Nieto, who runs the VR46 MotoGP team.

“First of all, I would like to thank Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and VR46 for letting me lead this new and young project, and for believing in me and my skills,” said Gelete. “I think the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp team has great value and strength, because it’s backed by two big and important companies, so for me it’s a real honor, and I can’t explain how I am happy.

“I think we can have a great season, but we have to be realistic that our riders are two rookies. So first we have to figure out how to work well, step by step, but still keep growing, because the World Championship is tough.

“There are a lot of strong riders, strong and historic teams, and we are at our beginnings. We have team members who have a lot of experience in the Moto2 World Championship, like Luca Capocchiano (the chief Gonzales’ team), who is a great asset to Manuel and the team. Or me for that matter. I was a world championship rider for five years, and later I had my own team with my brother Pablo. But whatever it is, we have to keep our feet on the ground and keep working.

“I want this team to grow and all work together, I want everyone to be professional but also friends, and to create a very good atmosphere inside and outside the garage. It’s a long season, we’ll be together a lot, and that’s the best way to work hard and stay focused. I want riders to be happy when they jump on the bike, to do the best job they can dream of, and to feel confident with the people working with them.

VR46 will continue to lead its own Moto2 team, with Celestino Vietti and Nicolo Antonelli, with Luca Brivio as team manager.

About Rachelle Roosevelt

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