The Indonesian star and the French rider will spearhead the new bLU cRU Yamaha WorldSSP Team’s 2020 World Supersport Championship charge
WorldSSP300 duo Galang Hendra Pratama and Andy Verdoia will graduate to the WorldSSP class in 2020, lining up together in the bLU cRU Yamaha WorldSSP Team. Using Championship-winning YZF-R6 machinery, the Indonesian and the Frenchman will look to enter the FIM Supersport World Championship with a bang at the first round of the season in Australia, at Phillip Island – a circuit which will be new for them.
Known for his exuberant on-track riding style and wild celebrations, Galang Hendra Pratama will be the first Indonesian rider to start a race in WorldSSP in over a decade – the last being Doni Tata Pradita at Portimao in 2009, also aboard a Yamaha. Pratama has not been short of success in WorldSSP300, taking two wins and three pole positions.
Having completed his first full season in 2019, Andy Verdoia is one of the upcoming stars from France and had a solid debut season in World Supersport 300. The 17-year-old took two podiums in the 2019 season and was challenging for wins each round. Although his Championship challenge eventually fell away, he still impressed with consistency in 2019, with all but one finish inside the top nine.
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager Andrea Dosoli expressed his delight at seeing two of the bLU cRU’s home-grown stars graduating onto the world stage, saying: “I am very pleased that we are finally able to announce the formation of the bLU cRU Yamaha WorldSSP Team for the 2020 season, as it completes the path within our racing pyramid from national level competition to the premier WorldSBK class. Initially we looked at placing Galang Hendra and Andy in established WorldSSP teams, but we've seen in WorldSSP300 this year that our bLU cRU riders learn from each other and gain confidence from sharing their experiences. This would have been difficult for them to do if we'd separated them for the 2020 season but, more importantly, by placing them together in a team where development rather than results is the priority, we are making clear our intentions for the bLU cRU project and the team's role within that structure.
“I think in the MS Racing squad we have found the perfect partner for this project. They have been an integral part of our bLU cRU project in WorldSSP300 and, as we've seen with both Andy Verdoia and Beatriz Neila this year, they have a talent for extracting the best from talented but inexperienced riders. This will be a crucial skill in 2020, as Galang Hendra and Andy adapt to the Yamaha YZF-R6 WorldSSP bike, which is both heavier and more powerful than the Yamaha YZF-R3 WorldSSP300 they're used to.
Continuing, Dosoli stated the rise in competition will also be a new experience for the pairing: “This is not the only transition they need to make; in 2020 they will be racing against vastly more experienced rivals so taking their race craft to allow the next level will also be of paramount importance. I have every confidence that, in Galang Hendra and Andy we have two riders who have the talent to be competitive in WorldSSP in the future and now we must focus all our efforts on helping them to realise their full potential. It will be a challenge, but one that we at Yamaha are definitely looking forward to, and I think the same is true of the two riders!”
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