Team MotoX Racing Unveil 2018 WorldSSP300 Team
Team MotoX Racing officially launched their 2018 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship campaign by unveiling the rider that will spearhead their title challenge onboard the Yamaha YZF-R3 in the highly competitive class at the Moto Expo at Rome on Saturday. 19-year-old Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama - who made an immediate impact as a wildcard in the 2017 WorldSSP300 Championship by taking a sensational victory in the last race at Jerez - will be joined on the grid by another four talented young riders competing in the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge alongside the main championship.
The Yamaha bLU cRU road racing program is designed to provide a clear career path for talented young riders right the way from their respective national R3 Cup's all the way up to the WorldSBK Championship. The 2017 season was the inaugural year of the challenge, with Alfonso Coppola emerging victorious after finishing as WorldSSP300 vice-champion and only missing out on the title by one point. As a reward for his Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge victory, Coppola has made the step up the WorldSSP Championship for 2018 with the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Jnr Team. The 2018 season sees six new riders promoted from their respective national R3 bLU cRU Challenges and Cup's to take part in the WorldSSP300 Championship after impressing at the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Masterclass in Latina, Italy last year. 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 winner of the 2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge will - like Coppola - be rewarded with a Yamaha supported ride in a higher class in 2019.
Galang Hendra was born in Yogyakarta, Indonesia into a racing family, with both his parents competing on track. He started riding motocross at the age of seven but ended up following in his parent's footstep and made his road-racing debut when he was ten in 2009. He graduated from the smaller classes of the Indonesian national championships, putting in some exceptional performances along the way to mark him out as a talent for the future. In 2015, he became an official Yamaha Racing Indonesia rider in the newly formed Asian Road Racing Championship AP250cc category, finishing ninth overall in his rookie season onboard the Yamaha YZF-R25. His impressive performances continued into the 2016 season and saw him selected to take part in the second edition of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp, spending a week learning from his idol Valentino Rossi and his team, in just one of the many schemes the bLU cRU project undertakes to help to bring through the next crop of future world champions. That year he went on to finish fifth in the highly competitive ARRC AP250cc Championship and in 2017 he finished sixth overall in the same championship, winning his first race towards the end of the season.
Hendra paid notice to his outstanding talent by twice featuring as a wildcard in the 2017 WorldSSP300 Championship. Having never raced the Yamaha YZF-R3, or even been to Europe - let alone ridden on any of the tracks - he impressed at Portimao, running in the top ten during the race before being forced to retire with a technical issue. He returned with a vengeance after being rewarded with another wildcard ride at Jerez, storming to a sensational victory. After such an incredible performance in Spain, the 2018 season sees him make the step up to the highly competitive WorldSSP300 class full time with Team MotoX Racing.
Team MotoX Racing will be supported by the new partnership between Yamaha Motor Europe and Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing that sees the two brands working together to help nurture and develop the best young riders from the region. Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing (YIMM) is the company who manufacture and distribute Yamaha motorcycles in Indonesia. The bikes will carry the Yamaha Indonesian slogan "Semakin di Depan", which means "one step ahead", a philosophy that embodies everything YIMM are trying to achieve, offering customers better products, better after sales services and more satisfaction.
Team MotoX Racing will kick off their season at the first European round of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship in Aragon on the 13-15th April.
Galang Hendra Pratama
Team MotoX Racing
"I am honoured and proud to get this chance to represent Yamaha and Indonesia in the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge and the WorldSSP300 Championship. After my victory at the last race in Jerez, I have now been given the opportunity to compete full time in the championship. It will be a challenge, as I will have to learn most of the circuits as we go but I am excited for the challenge that lies ahead. I want to thank everyone at YIMM, Yamaha Motor Europe, and Team MotoX Racing for giving me this chance to showcase my skills on the world stage."
Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager
"We are proud to be here in this famous MotoDays show in Rome for the Team MotoX Racing launch of their WorldSSP300 title challenge with talented young Indonesian rider Galang Hendra. He impressed on his two wildcard appearances in 2017 and fully deserves his chance to compete on the world stage full time. He is one of the five riders that have been selected from their respectively national championships to compete in the 2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge after impressing at the Masterclass. All the teams and riders are preparing for a preseason test and are focusing on entering the first round of the season in the best way possible. I would like to thank Mr. Minoru Morimoto, President of Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing, and all of his staff for this special collaboration which will help to give young Asian riders a clear career into the WorldSBK Championship and showcase the strength in the Yamaha Family."