The team roster for Yamaha at the 2016 Monster Energy SMX Riders Cup have changed again. It was announced on Thursday that Benoit Paturel and Justin Barcia had pulled their participation from the event.
Barcia’s involvement at the SMX for Yamaha as the “fourth rider” was announced during the MXGP of the Americas at Charlotte in early September. But as the offseason continues, the talk of a switch in bike brands for Barcia and the JGRMX team has intensified. Steve Matthes (@pulpmx) reported that a move to Suzuki, which had been rumored during the summer months, was complete. Yamaha has now confirmed that Barcia will not make the trip to Europe as expected, “due to a conflict with team contracts.”
Paturel stepped into the limelight in the last few months with solid finishes in the FIM Motocross World Championship and as the MX2 rider for Team France’s victory at the 2016 Motocross of Nations. An original member of Yamaha’s SMX line-up, the brand has announced that Paturel will miss the race because of “logistical” reasons.” Yannis Irsuti, a French teenager that finished second overall in the country’s SX series last year, will serve as his replacement.
Yamaha’s team will now consist of Romain Febvre, Yannis Irsuti, and Brent Van doninck.