With the announced retirement of nine times motocross world champion Stefan Everts at the end of this season, Yamaha is very pleased to have signed both Joshua Coppins and Marc de Reuver for the 2007 MX1 world championship season. The new signings will have a tremendous challenge in trying to maintain the team's past and present winning success, but Yamaha believe that the 2005 MX1 vice world champion Joshua Coppins (29 yrs, New Zealand) and this year's MX2 world championship title challenger Marc de Reuver (23 yrs, The Netherlands) both have the speed and talent to become worthy successors in the Yamaha Motocross Team.
At the start of the millennium Joshua Coppins has gradually delivered on the ever increasing expectations since he stepped onto the world stage of motocross in 1995.
In 2000 Coppins proved he had the consistency and speed to one day challenge for the top prize when he finished fourth in the MX250 world championship. Two years later he came close to the title for the first time with a runner up position in the MX250 world championship.
Being the current MX1 vice world champion Joshua Coppins was expected to become Everts' biggest rival this season, but bad luck struck in the form of a broken right shoulder sustained a few days before the opening round of the world championship in Zolder, Belgium. The injury kept him sidelined for the first half of the season and only recently, at round eight of the championship at the British GP in Matterley Basin, Coppins made his impressive return, finishing third overall. He repeated the result a week later at the Swedish GP, held on the 2nd July 2006 in Uddevalla. "Since I came to Europe 11 years ago I have always been very impressed with the Rinaldi-Yamaha team. They have been right up there for more than 15 years and since 2001 they have proven to be pretty much unbeatable. Especially this year their new bike is winning almost everything. So what more can I ask for? Being able to ride with them next year will give me the best opportunity ever to win the world title I've been chasing for so long," said Coppins.
While Coppins is a seasoned MX1 challenger, Marc de Reuver will make his full campaign debut in the super competitive MX1 class. Currently he is still in the fight for the MX2 world championship title (placed fourth). At the young age of 18 De Reuver was already among the MX125 world titles candidates and in 2003 he won his first GP in Teutschenthal (Germany) finishing the year in seventh position. Further improvement was on the cards, but injuries halted his progress in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Yet now in 2006 Marc is fully recovered and is looking to fulfill the high expectations.
"I'm really happy to be back with the brand where it all started with. I won my first race aged six on a PW50 and I have competed on Yamahas for more than ten years, winning many races, so I know from my own experience they make great machines. Seeing the successes of the YZ450 it clearly is the bike to have in the MX1 class. The Rinaldi team is renowned for their professionalism and rider focus and I hope this support will make the difference for me to mount a successful challenge for the MX1 title," he explained.
Yamaha are fully focused for 2007 in keeping the momentum going of Yamaha Motocross Team's incredible winning streak. Yamaha Motor Europe racing manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp is confident he has found the men that can carry the baton from Everts successfully.
He explained: "MX1 is the most important and prestigious off-road world championship class, so it is Yamaha's main target to win this title and prove the technological leadership of our YZ model range. Since 2001 we have proven year after year that our four-stroke engine and chassis technology sets the standard on the highest competitive level. "Finding worthy successors for the greatest motocross racer of all times is not easy, or maybe I should say impossible. But we believe Josh and Marc both stand out as extremely talented riders who have an enormous motivation and 'never give up' attitude, this we believe will keep us on top in 2007".