Former MotoGP holder Nozane was offered the chance to compete in WSBK this year for Yamaha’s GRT satellite team after winning the All-Japan Superbike title last year.

However, the 25-year-old struggled to match the other drivers of the brand, having only managed a single top 10 in a long distance race at Barcelona and a better ninth place in the Aragon Superpole race.

He also had to miss the tour of Donington Park in July after breaking the middle finger of his right hand in a test crash in Navarre.

That leaves Nozane 14th in the standings, but on a mere fraction of the points scored by his GRT Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff and the brand’s other 2021 rookie, Andrea Locatelli.

However, Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Europe’s road racing director, remains convinced that Nozane has yet to show his potential in WSBK and has supported him to retain his GRT seat for next season.

“It’s a huge challenge for Kohta,” Dosoli told Motorsport.com. “It’s not just that he doesn’t know the tracks or Pirelli tires, but he’s left Japan and lives in Europe. It takes time. [to adjust].

“Of course when he goes to a new circuit he struggles more. When we go to a circuit he knows from his testing, like Barcelona, ​​he can show his talent.

“Also remember in a private test in Navarre he had an accident and he had a small injury, but it was a painful injury and it took longer than expected to repair. so compromised his season.

“We think it’s fair to give him another chance, and we are discussing with him and Japan to make it happen. We are waiting for a step. [in 2022], and he expects to take a step too, of course. “

Dosoli also lent his support to Nozane’s teammate Gerloff, who has struggled for form since knocking out Yamaha’s main title hope Toprak Razgatlioglu in a Turn 1 clash in Assen in July.

Prior to this incident, Gerloff had finished on the podium twice, but since then he has failed to finish in the top five.

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“We strongly believe Garrett is one of the best drivers in the WSBK,” said Dosoli. “That’s why we extended the deal to 2022 at an early stage of the season.

“Of course what happened to Assen affected him, but we are working together to get him back to the Garrett we know. He was sorry for what happened, but we need to focus on it. ‘to come up.

“We are working to give Garrett speed and confidence again because we know he is capable of fighting for the podium.”


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