Rossi was badly injured during the practice session of the Italian GP at Mugello and, after he underwent operation in a Florence hospital, the doctors decided he should be sidelined for at least 2 months. Shortly after, Yamaha said that they will not rush into naming a replacement for the 7-time MotoGP champion.
Finally they made their decision, as Yoshikawa will take the Yamaha YZR-M1 to the track for at least the Dutch, Catalunya and German Grand Pris.
“Firstly he brings with him a wealth of experience riding the YZR-M1. Secondly his presence allows us to fulfill our contractual obligations and to join the team's quest to accumulate points for the team championship,” explained Yamaha racing boss Lin Jarvis in a press release.
“Thirdly he will gain valuable first hand MotoGP race experience in three challenging circuits which will surely be very useful to assist him and Yamaha with the future development of the YMR-M1,” added Jarvis.
Two time Japanese Superbike champion, Wataru Yoshikawa has been a test rider for Yamaha for quite some time, making his last MotoGP start no less than 8 years ago. It happened in the 2002 Pacific Grand Prix, when he took his Yamaha to 12th overall.
“I'm happy to have this chance to stand in for Valentino while he is recovering and to compete in MotoGP again for the first time since 2002, when I raced at Motegi. (...) I am looking forward to having the chance to gather some 'real racing' data, which will be very helpful for the future development of the M1,” said the Japanese rider.