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Yoshikawa primed for first race as Rossi replacement

Yoshikawa primed for first race as Rossi replacement

The Japanese test rider will begin his spell as the World Champion’s substitute on board the Fiat Yamaha M1 machine at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya this weekend.

After three races as the sole representative of the Fiat Yamaha team Jorge Lorenzo will be joined by Wataru Yoshikawa on track at this weekend’s Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya. The Yamaha test rider steps into the factory team set-up for his first race as Valentino Rossi’s substitute at round seven, while the Italian continues his recovery from the broken leg suffered at Mugello almost four weeks ago.

The vastly experienced 41 year-old Yoshikawa, who is one of the key test riders in Yamaha’s MotoGP development programme, knows Rossi’s bike well and is looking forward to adding to his only previous premier class race which came at Motegi in 2002.

"I'm excited about riding the M1 in Spain this week, even if I'm very sorry for Valentino's injury,” said Yoshikawa, who is a former two-time Japanese superbike champion. “I have only ridden in a MotoGP race once, at Motegi in 2002, and this is the first time I have ridden at the Montmeló track.”

“We can see from the team's results this season that Yamaha did a good job with the winter development of the M1 and I am sure that these few races I will contest now will be extremely helpful for the future development of our bike."

This weekend will also see a return to action for Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha crew, including chief mechanic Jeremy Burgess and with Team Manager Davide Brivio in charge of proceedings.

"This weekend our team will come back to the paddock after a strange time watching from home!” said Brivio. “We go to Barcelona where we have some amazing memories from last year. Of course we will miss Valentino but he is recovering well and now we will give our maximum support to Wataru as he joins our team.”

“It will be nice to see the fourth M1 back on the track, Wataru is an experienced rider even though he doesn't know Barcelona and we will see what happens," concluded the Italian.


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