World Supoerbikes news - GRT Yamaha step up to WorldSBK with Cortese and Melandri
GRT Yamaha have announced they will join the Superbike World Championship line-up for 2019 with Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese as their two riders.
Cortese took the WorldSSP title in 2018 – his first year in World SBK – and steps up to the big stage with Yamaha.
"To win the WorldSSP championship and then step up to WorldSBK with the GRT Yamaha Team is like a dream come true for me,” Cortese said.
" I'm super happy to be a part of this new project and, although it's a big step, I am really looking forward to the challenge. I can't wait to jump on the Yamaha YZF-R1 for the first time in Jerez later this month to start the familiarisation process. It will be like Christmas for me; I've never ridden such a big bike before and I am like a small kid who can't wait to get his present!"
Melandri spent the last two World Superbikes seasons with Ducati Panigale, finishing fourth and then fifth in the championship. He rode a Yamaha in 2011, his first season in World Superbikes, and came second in the championship.
Filippo Conti, GRT team manager said: "I am really delighted to be stepping up to the WorldSBK championship with Yamaha, it's like a dream come true. We started this project in WorldSSP and now we are moving up to WorldSBK, which is very important for the team but also for Yamaha's production racing program.
" It's a big step for us and we know we will be facing a steep learning curve in our debut season, but our two riders bring with them a wealth of experience. Riders don't come more experienced than Marco, who has been a frontrunner in WorldSBK since he came to the championship in 2011."