Monster Energy Yamaha will welcome former Grand Prix winner and current Australian MX1 Motocross Championship contender Billy Mackenzie back to the throes of the FIM series this weekend.
The 29 year old Scot will substitute the injured Steven Frossard and steer the factory YZ450FM at Maggiora for the Grand Prix of Italy and round nine of 17 in the 2013 competition.
Mackenzie is taking profit of a break in the Australian calendar – a fierce national contest that he has been a part of for the last three years – and the positive association the works squad enjoys with the prominent Yamaha Craig Dack Racing team to make his appearance alongside Joel Roelants in Italy. He is already extremely familiar with the YZ450F but naturally with configurations to race his specific championship. Testing and racing commitments towards his goal in Australia means he is slated to compete in Monster Energy Yamaha colours for the Italian fixture only.
Mackenzie has a special history with Yamaha. In 2005 he celebrated his first moto and Grand Prix victories on the YZ250F from inside the confines of the Steve Dixon team; a partnership that begun when Mackenzie was a teenager and lasted almost a decade. An MX2 front-runner for two years, regular British Championship favourite (eventually earning the crown in 2007 but on a 450) and famous conqueror of the Sugo circuit and the Grand Prix of Japan with Yamaha in 2005 and 2006, Mackenzie is still a popular and charismatic member of the motocross racing fraternity. After four years in the premier MX1-GP class the Briton set his personal sights on Australia but returned to Grand Prix for his home event at Matterley Basin in 2011 where he ran in the top three for half of the first moto before finally finishing seventh.
“This is quite a cool opportunity and not really something I expected but we have a gap in our season now and to come back and try a Grand Prix with the Monster Energy Yamaha boys was a challenge I fancied,” Mackenzie said.
“Obviously I have a connection and long past with Yamaha in Europe and it will be good to hook-up with some old faces. That factory bike was always something I fancied trying when I was racing in the world championship and now I have the chance! I just want to enjoy this and it is good to race at this level without any kind of pressure for points or the championship. I have to say thanks to Craig and the Rinaldi boys for making it all happen.”
The sixth round of ten in the Australian Monster Energy MX Nationals will take place in New South Wales on July 14. Mackenzie is currently third in the Pro Open standings on his YZ450F. Steven Frossard will undergo more scans this week when a better estimation of his return to action can be determined.