bLU cRU Concept
Yamaha’s bLU cRU programme is a platform to support the next generation of young riding talent in both road and off-road racing. The platform creates a professional environment that is used to encourage, nurture and build tomorrow’s racing stars through the guidance and unparalleled experience of the Yamaha Racing world.
The bLU cRU platform is also represented at the pinnacle of each global racing discipline contested by Yamaha. Yamaha Racing’s top Official riders in MXGP, Enduro, Dakar, WorldSBK, WorldSSP and Endurance have the responsibility of being bLU cRU Ambassadors. These elite racers stand as an example for the young racing generation of tomorrow, upholding key values for racing and manufacturer representation, including performance, education, dedication, respect and health and fitness. Their spirit of success and behaviour in the eyes of both the media and the racing fans sets the standard for the bLU cRU generation of tomorrow.
For young ambitious off-road riders, the YZ125 bLU cRU Cup provides the perfect entry into Yamaha’s racing pyramid. Riders that race YZ125’s inside their National 125 Championships can apply pre-season to be part of the program. Once accepted, they will be provided with a bLU cRU package with a number of benefits, including Yamaha Racing Paddock Blue clothing, bLU cRU sticker set for their YZ125 machine and more.
The top performing riders (up to a maximum of 44) in their National Championships will reach the YZ125 bLU cRU Cup Superfinale, a true international race held at one of the world’s biggest motocross events. The top three finishers at the Superfinale and two wildcard riders will move on to take part in a unique Yamaha Masterclass under the guidance, supervision and advise of the bLU cRU Ambassadors. From this, one lucky rider is picked to move up and join the MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 Team as an Official Yamaha rider in the 2018 EMX125 Championship.
Since the YZ125 bLU cRU Cup’s inception in 2015 – it has grown into the most successful feeder program into the European EMX125 Championship. Sweden’s Tim Edberg won the first ever YZ125 bLU cRU Cup after his impressive performance in the Superfinale which took place inside the VELTINS-Arena, at the SMX Cup. His performance earned him a place in the Masterclass with David Philippaerts where his speed, skill, commitment and enthusiasm won him a fully backed ride in the world’s premier amateur series, the EMX125 Championship with MJC Yamaha Official EMX125.
Thanks to the full support and guidance of Yamaha’s bLU cRU program, the young Swede, Edberg, made a strong transition from national level racing to the world stage. He had break-out performance at the opening round of the EMX125 championship - which took place in April 2017 - at the historic sand circuit of Valkenswaard in The Netherlands, where he turned heads with his awe-inspiring ride from outside the top-ten and into second place on his EMX125 debut. Unfortunately, the second race didn’t go as smoothly as he fell and broke his thumb, but still recovered for a gritty seventh place to finish fourth overall at the season opener – which was his best result of the season. While recovering from his thumb injury for the majority of the season, he managed to finish eighth overall, but proved his talent enough to awarded a place inside the EMX250 Championship in 2018.
More than 80 riders entered into the 2017 YZ125 bLU cRU Cup program where 33 made it to the Superfinale which took place at the biggest and most watched motocross event in the world, the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. After a wild and challenging, yet extremely fun and rewarding weekend, five riders were selected to attend the bLU cRU Masterclass that took place in Latina, Italy at the end of October. The riders selected were the top-three finishers in the YZ125 bLU cRU Cup Superfinale; sixteen-year-old Swede Arvid Lüning, sixteen-year-old Italian Francesco Bassi and Bassi’s fourteen-year-old compatriot Kevin Cristino. They were joined by the two kids that made the wild-card selection; Race 1 winner, fifteen-year-old Estonian Jorgen-Matthias Talviku and sixteen-year-old Frenchman Pierre Moine.
On the road-racing side of the project, the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge is a truly unique scheme designed to identify, nurture, and develop the best young riding talent from around the world, providing a clear career path for them to fulfil their dreams on the world stage. Starting in 2017, six riders were selected to compete in the 2017 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship as a part of the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge. The first year of the project saw it deliver on its potential, with 20-year-old Italian Alfonso Coppola winning the challenge and just missing out on the overall championship by one point as all six bLU cRU riders impressed throughout the season.
The 2017 bLU cRU Masterclass was an exclusive event that brought together a group of bright young Yamaha Racing talents from both on and off-road racing disciplines. The event ran to a schedule that has been mindfully designed to encourage, nurture and develop aspiring professional riders. It also offered key personnel from Yamaha Motor Europe, and the already acclaimed bLU cRU Ambassadors that were in attendance, the chance to observe the promising young riders for more than just their talent and flair on a motorcycle.
After demonstrating a keen willingness to learn and showing maturity in media interviews, and exhibiting a polite and friendly attitude off-the-bike, Jörgen-Matthias Talviku was chosen as the lucky winner of the 2017 YZ125 bLU cRU Cup where he will receive full support from the MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 team, Yamaha Motor Europe and the entire bLU cRU, to race a GYTR kitted YZ125 inside the 2018 EMX125 Championship.
In the road racing section of the Masterclass, 11 of the best performing riders in their national R3 Cups got the chance to showcase their potential at the first Yamaha R3 Masterclass to Yamaha Motor Europe's bLU cRU Racing Manager Alberto Barozzi and bLU cRU Ambassadors David Checa & Niccolò Canepa from the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team, GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Federico Caricasulo and winner of the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge, Alfonso Coppola. The Masterclass allowed the riders to demonstrate not just their ability on track, but also the qualities that Yamaha look for in a rider away from the track, such as the ability to learn, how they work with their team, their attitude, and much more.
From these 11, five were selected to join Galang Hendra Pratama in the WorldSSP300 Championship onboard a Yamaha YZF-R3 in 2018 after the Indonesian rider impressed in two wildcard appearances this season, including his stunning victory at the last round in Jerez. The five riders selected were Luca Bernarda (16) and Alessandro Arcangeli (16) from Italy, Dutchman Dennis Koopman (20), Notis Papapavlou (17) from Greece, French rider Hugo de Cancellis (16). These six will benefit from the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge rider package, dedicated to supporting young riders in the international racing environment. This includes racing kit parts, a race service support at the track, a full paddock clothing kit and much more. The riders will participate in the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge within the championship, with the top rider at the end of the season moving up the racing pyramid with an official Yamaha supported ride in a higher class the following year, just as the inaugural winner Coppola will do in 2018. It is not the end of the road for those who did not make the cut for the 2018 season, as they will compete in their national R3 Cups next year, with another chance to impress and be invited back to the 2018 Yamaha R3 Masterclass.