Yamaha Monster Energy Motocross Team will expand to accommodate three riders for the 2011 FIM Motocross World Championship with the signing of 23-year-old Frenchman Steven Frossard to steer the factory YZ450FM in the MX1-GP category.
For the first time since 2005 the Italian crew will concentrate their efforts on a three rider roster split between two classes as Frossard makes his MX1-GP debut alongside 2008 world champion David Philippaerts and will also share the awning with countryman and MX2-GP representative Gautier Paulin.
Frossard has been one of the main protagonists in the MX2-GP series for the last three seasons and has been a regular face on the podium as one of the fastest men in the competition.
Hailing from Marseille, Frossard claimed his first grand prix victory in 2010 and picked up five other trophies on his way to third in the final classification.
“It is great to be joining a team like Yamaha Monster Energy MX in my first season in the MX1-GP class,” said Frossard, who expects to start riding at the end of October. “When someone like Michele Rinaldi and his crew show an interest in you then it is a big compliment because the amount of titles they have speaks for itself.
“I will have to learn about the bike and the secrets of racing in MX1 and I plan to work hard over the winter to do the very best I can in 2011.”
The Frenchman’s potential has been eyed by Yamaha Motor Europe and YRRD principal Michele Rinaldi and Yamaha are pleased to welcome the rider into MX1-GP with the best equipment and resources the works effort has available.
“We are really pleased to be able to expand the team and have a rider like Steven with his ability to join David on the YZ450FM,” said Rinaldi. “We had a busy season in 2010 developing the brand new technology from Yamaha and also working closely with Ohlins for the first time in many years.
“We made some important and successful progress and now we will be able to count on the information from two riders to remain competitive and at the top of MX1-GP. Together with Gautier we have three very capable riders for 2011 and I think it will be an exciting adventure for all of us.
“I would like to thank Yamaha Motor Europe and our sponsors, especially Monster Energy for letting the team and Yamaha’s presence in the FIM world championship grow.”
Frossard burst to prominence in the 2008 FIM MX2-GP world championship where he gained his first podium results (two, in Germany and Ireland) and announced himself as a candidate for future wins.
He also claimed the French Elite crown the same season having won the MX2 equivalent three years before. In 2009 he led a Grand Prix for the first time, grabbed his maiden moto chequered flags (Bulgaria and Germany) and was runner-up on three occasions of his four rostrum appearances to take sixth in the world.
Frossard also represented his country for the first time at the Motocross of Nations. He beat his world championship position by three ranks in 2010 and also vastly improved his sand riding.