Yamaha has confirmed that it has retained the services of Spanish rider Carlos Checa in its factory-owned MotoGP team for 2003. Checa signed a two-year deal with Yamaha on Tuesday to ride the YZR-M1 four-stroke bike in the MotoGP World...
Yamaha has confirmed that it has retained the services of Spanish rider Carlos Checa in its factory-owned MotoGP team for 2003. Checa signed a two-year deal with Yamaha on Tuesday to ride the YZR-M1 four-stroke bike in the MotoGP World Championship. The news comes two weeks after the announcement from Yamaha that Marlboro sponsorship of the team, currently known as the Marlboro Yamaha Team, would cease from the end of the 2002 season.
Commenting on the announcement, 29-year-old Checa said: "I am very happy to have reached an agreement so soon with Yamaha. I believe in Yamaha, the team and the people involved in the four-stroke project. We have done some excellent work together and now I really want to continue with that and create a winning package to fight for the Championship. Being part of that process from the beginning will make it even more satisfying if we can achieve our goal.
"I had a number of approaches from different teams for next year. It's never easy to decide, but Yamaha was my first choice because of the people and because I believe it gives me the best chance for success. My goal since 1999 has been to win the Championship with Yamaha and I hope that we can achieve it next year. Now that my decision is made I can concentrate on my racing for the second half of the 2002 season and be relaxed and confident in my preparation for 2003"
Checa has ridden for Yamaha since the beginning of the Marlboro Yamaha Team project in 1999. He finished seventh in the World Championship that year and then sixth in the next two seasons. He currently lies fifth in the inaugural MotoGP World Championship on the M1 with three podium finishes to his name.
"Carlos has been very positive about the four-stroke project since the beginning," explained Yamaha Motor Racing B.V. Managing Director, Mr Lin Jarvis. "We are keen to keep working closely with him and so I'm delighted that he will stay with us. Negotiations have been short as we have an excellent relationship with Carlos and a strong package on offer for next year and beyond.
"We are continuing our discussions with other potential riders about next year and I am sure that we will have a strong Team to spearhead Yamaha's number one racing project. We are also talking with a number of potential sponsors for next year and I feel confident that we will be working with top-class commercial partners in our MotoGP program."
Team Director Davide Brivio added: "Carlos has been riding better and better this year and I expect that he'll really show his full potential between now and the end of the season. He works very well with our engineering staff and will play a crucial role in developing the M1 to challenge for the Championship next year. I'm looking forward to working together with him towards that goal."
The MotoGP World Championship circus is currently enjoying its summer break, but Checa will be in action for two-days of demonstrations of the M1 at the Marlboro Masters F3 event at Zandvoort in Holland next weekend. Racing recommences with the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at Brno on Sunday 25th August.