Seven YZ125 Cup riders selected by Yamaha. have successfully concluded the intense Masterclass training programme from November 18-20, at the Ottobiano Motorsport track in Italy. The upcoming young talents were taken under the wing of 2008 MX Premier Class (MX1) Champion David Philippaerts and Alberto Barozzi, Yamaha’s Racing Manager, to get a unique insight into all aspects of professional motocross training. The students’ progress was carefully monitored by Yamaha’s racing committee throughout the course, as only one rider will receive the opportunity to step up to the EMX125 Championship with Yamaha’s MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 Team next year.
Tim Edberg (15 years old / Sweden), Jeroen Bussink (15 years old / The Netherlands), Arvid Lüning (15 years old / Sweden), Nicolo Folli (15 years old / Italy) and Rasmus Holm (15 years old / Sweden) and wildcards Hugo Johansson (15 years old / Sweden) and Gervasio Cañas (15 years old / Spain) earned their place in the Masterclass after a year of fierce competition in their respective national MX championships and a thrilling SuperFinale at the VELTINS-Arena on October 8th.
Having been selected, the seven young riders got to learn first hand all the ins and outs of the off-road racing industry from Philippaerts and Barozzi, and that was not all. The MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 Team also made a special visit to support the YZ125 Cup riders and allow their riders, Rick Elzinga (14 years old / The Netherlands) and Thibault Benistant (14 years old / France), to train alongside them.
The YZ125 Cup riders arrived in Italy on Friday evening and assembled for a welcoming presentation, before immediately getting to work. Eager to get started they changed into their running clothes and went out for a jog with Philippaerts before having dinner together. The meal plan for the Masterclass weekend was arranged to educate the young students on the healthy lifestyle that a professional off-road career demands.
Having gone to bed early the day before, the riders were fresh for a 7AM breakfast the next morning before heading to the Ottobiano track. Knowing the vitality of physical fitness, Philippaerts taught the youngsters a quick and effective warm-up routine before the riders got to go out on track for Free Practice as soon as the fog cleared.
After a hearty lunch, the YZ125 Cup riders’ afternoon training session focused on riding style, body position, technique, starts and more vital elements that contribute to a successful MX career.
The first day on track was concluded with a quick cooling down session before the riders got to warm up at the bonfire and roast marshmallows. Happy and satisfied after a long day’s work, they headed back to the hotel where they were allowed to relax for a while and enjoy a healthy and warming meal.
The second day started with a physical check after breakfast to make sure the riders were in perfect shape for the final day of the Masterclass.
To give the YZ125 Cup riders a well-rounded view on how to ride their YZ125 bikes to their full potential, the seven youngsters were taken out on a hard-pack track to practice correct clutch usage. Following the practical session, MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 Team Principal Loïc Le Foll explained to the rider and their mechanics some of the mechanical features on the bike that are important and to discover the YZ125’s potential. After that Barozzi and Philippaerts gave a special lesson for a correct riding style.
The riders found the tips they received in the morning lectures incredibly helpful during their afternoon riding session back on the sand track. Philippaerts couldn’t resist jumping on the bike to have a look at the YZ125 Cup riders’ style from up-close while they practiced overtaking in pairs in a race challenge, before they closed the day with some final practice starts and an official ending ceremony.
Having carefully analysed the riders’ riding style and skills, Yamaha’s racing committee will deliberate on which YZ125 Cup rider will join Elzinga and Benistant in Yamaha’s MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 Team for the upcoming 2017 EMX125 Championship, which will be announced this Wednesday, November 23.
Philippaerts said: “I’m very pleasantly surprised about how great this unique opportunity from Yamaha for these young riders has turned out. We worked with these seven greatly talented riders and I’m so happy about the improvements they made during the Masterclass. We took riders from various European countries, we did the SuperFinale race and then they came here with the Yamaha family.
“We worked very hard over these last two days and it was so nice to see that the riders’ styles and aggression really changed from Friday till the last day. The riders really liked to stay together with Yamaha and I’m so happy that Yamaha gave them this opportunity to learn. The Masterclass is not just Yamaha working on their future, it’s about the young riders and helping them. They now know a little bit more about training and how to work with the bike and this will help them with the rest of their careers.”