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Yamaha and the VR46 Riders Academy are proud to announce that Yamaha VR46 Master Camp‘s Apiwat Wongthananon will make his European racing debut in the 2017 FIM CEV International Championship. The rider is to be a regular entry in the Moto3 Junior World Championship class as a part of the new-born VR46 Master Camp Team and is eager to become a protagonist right from the start of the season as he gains experience to further his career.
The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp programme was launched last year as a joint effort from Yamaha and the VR46 Riders Academy, dedicated to helping the most talented young Yamaha riders develop their racing careers. The Master Camp included training activities alongside the VR46 Academy riders and Valentino Rossi at his Motor Ranch and fitness instruction in the gym, as well as classes on the technical aspects that come with racing bikes, making for a well-rounded education.
With the agreement of Valentino Rossi, Wongthananon was selected by Yamaha and the VR46 Riders Academy at the end of the second edition of the programme in September last year as the first Master Camp student to take his career one step further.
With help from Yamaha and the VR46 Riders Academy, Wongthananon is given the opportunity to train alongside the VR46 Academy riders and Rossi and to take on the strongest young riders as he goes head-to-head in the World Junior Moto3 class against VR46 Riders Academy‘s Dennis Foggia and Celestino Vietti Ramus.
Wongthananon's entry in the CEV Championship, that runs from April 30th – Nov 19th, will allow him to familiarize himself with a motorcycle similar to those used in the MotoGP World Championship‘s Moto3™ class.
Lin Jarvis, Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director: "It is great news that Apiwat signed up with VR46 Riders Academy as the new Master Camp entry in the CEV Championship and it really is a sign of the relevance and importance of the whole Master Camp concept with Yamaha. The target was to raise new talent and we focused in the first year on getting six riders over from the Asian region. From this group Apiwat was officially nominated, being one of the most talented riders. For him to get the chance to do a full season in the Junior World Championship is really a dream opportunity for him. One year ago he couldn‘t have imaged this turn of events when he was racing in Thailand in the Asian Cup. This is part of Yamaha‘s concept and indeed in line with Yamaha‘s bLU cRU programme*, where we try to create opportunities for young talent around the world so they can progress within Yamaha‘s network of global activities and fulfill their dreams. I wish Apiwat the best of luck and we will certainly be watching his results to see how he gets on."
Alessio Salucci, VR46 Riders Academy: "This project has been a big bet. The first goal was to give a selection of Yamaha riders the chance to experience our Academy, training with our riders and Valentino Rossi. Today the project has become something much bigger and important because one of these riders will now move to Tavullia, live and train with us and he will be competing alongside the VR46 Academy riders in one of the most challenging championships, aiming to become a professional rider. We are therefore very happy to be able to help Apiwat in this path and we will do everything, with the help of the VR46 Riders Academy staff, to give him all the tools to establish itself among the best riders in the world. I'm really proud of this project and wish the best of good luck to Apiwat and our riders for this season."
Apiwat Wongthananon: "I‘m very happy and honoured to have signed with the VR46 Riders Academy. Last year was like a fairy tale, it‘s been a dream come true. My results with the Yamaha Thailand Team were really good and I was able to take first place in the 2016 Asian Championship. I was able to travel to Italy as well to train with the VR46 Academy riders, which was an amazing experience. I was already grateful to be there for even just a short period of time, because I learned so much thanks to the help of the instructors and the staff. To be able to now train with the VR46 Rider Academy on a regular basis is a truly unique once-in-a-lifetime chance that I hadn‘t dare to hope for. I‘m a big fan of Valentino, he‘s my idol and role model who I‘ve admired for many years, so it means a lot to me to be able to learn from him. I want to thank him, Yamaha, and the VR46 Riders Academy for this opportunity. I feel motivated to work hard and learn a lot this upcoming season and hope to do well in the CEV Championship."