Monster Energy Yamaha is Yamaha’s comprehensive and potent factory team across both MX1-GP (450cc machines with the YZ450FM) and MX2-GP (250cc with the YZ250FM and YZ250F) with six racers in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
For 2013 Steven Frossard is joined by promising Belgian MX1 rookie Joel Roelants (a former MX2 Grand Prix winner) to steer the innovative YZ450FM under the distinctive black and green awning. In his fourth term with Yamaha (the second with the works set-up and on the YZ250FM prototype) former European Champion Christophe Charlier will be looking to build on his maiden MX2 Grand Prix podium finish scored in 2012.
The Italian element of Monster Energy Yamaha pioneers the work and ideas forged by Yamaha technicians and YRRD (Yamaha Rinaldi R&D) on the racetrack that feeds back into the class-leading development made by Yamaha on their potent motocross machinery. The initial partnership between Yamaha and the Rinaldi set-up was an immediate success, soaring to the 1992 250cc world title with the late Donny Schmit. Since then the association has continued to grow and prosper, maintaining a place in the upper echelons of the sport. In 1994 the Italian squad reaped more acclaim in a different category when another American, Bob Moore, sealed the 125cc Championship. The Rinaldis carried on running the factory's official 125 and 250cc efforts, while the YRRD program founded in 1995, started developing a range of race-winning special parts for the company's two-stroke YZ machines.
Further on-track glory came when the team began campaigning Yamaha's factory four-strokes in 1999; it was to be the start of a comprehensive streak of results. Andrea Bartolini won the 500 world title with the production based YZ400F in that first year, with Marnicq Bervoets taking the runner-up position the following term. From 2001 Stefan Everts stamped his mark on the sport with Rinaldi-run Yamaha's in a six season consecutive spell of Championship domination. The initial pieces of silverware were taken with the YZ500FM, a machine jointly developed by Yamaha and the Rinaldi team in 2001 and 2002, before switching to the YZ450FM for the new MX1 category (for 450cc four-stroke and 250cc two-strokes). Everts added four back-to-back titles on the YZ450FM, between 2003 and 2006 before retiring undefeated in September ‘06.
Grand Prix victories and podiums have since been celebrated with the likes of Josh Coppins, Marc de Reuver, David Philippaerts, Steven Frossard and Gautier Paulin. Coppins came extremely close to gaining the title in 2007 before an injury towards the end of the season cruelly denied the New Zealander his life dream. Philippaerts took the YZ450FM to world championship success in 2008 in what was his first season with the team; the emotional scenes at the final Grand Prix of that year in Italy will not quickly be forgotten. Frossard continued the trend of debut riders being able to make a vast impression in their maiden term when the Frenchman claimed two MX1 victories in 2011 and finished the campaign as runner-up in the standings. Paulin rode the YZ450FM for the first time as a wild-card at the last round of 2011 and won the Italian Grand Prix.
The British division of Monster Energy Yamaha is run by Steve Dixon, a professional and passionate racing businessman with over twenty years of history with Yamaha. Dixon’s impressive British racing outfit received factory status in 2012 and this continues. Dixon originally wielded the spanners for Yamaha Motor UK and later developed into a manager and director of his own team. The English based operation had become recognised as one of the UK’s best at FIM world championship level.
With YZ125 and YZ250F technology Dixon enjoyed Grand Prix success and notable achievements with Paul Malin, Carl Nunn, Billy Mackenzie, Brian Jorgensen, Kenneth Gundersen, the late Andrew McFarlane and lately Zach Osborne and Arnaud Tonus.
In 2010 Osborne captured the team’s seventh British Championship and they emphatically enforced their position with a dominant run to a defence of the title in 2011 with Tonus. In Grand Prix racing the team had presence on the podium in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Dixon’s professional set-up and work with both Osborne and Tonus meant the official merger with Yamaha Motor Europe to become the second sect of Monster Energy Yamaha for 2012 was a strong proposition. The team garnered GP silverware with both of those riders as well as replacement racer Michael Leib. 2012 was a memorable season as another of Dixon’s young ‘finds’, Mel Pocock (who had originally come into the squad as an adolescent rookie in 2009) matured to become a fast and powerful threat and delivered a first European Championship in some style with six wins from a possible seven. For 2013 Pocock leads the MX2-GP line with European Championship rival Maxime Desprey a newcomer. Australian Dean Ferris completes a diverse and exciting MX2 roster.