Tomas Casas is headed to Italy on Sunday, May 7 for some quality time with Valentino Rossi at the third addition of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp. While his rivals for the 2017 Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Championship are looking for dry weather to test back home in Canada, Casas will be in Rossi’s home town of Tavullia for training, coaching and riding on both dirt and pavement.
“This really is the opportunity of a lifetime,” explained Peterborough, ON., based Casas, a racing product of the Honda Canada CSBK spec series for 125cc and later CBR250R Junior road racers.
“Matt Filion from Yamaha Canada and I will land in Bologna in Italy, then head to the east coast where Rossi lives. Then we will spend four days with Rossi and his staff, they have a whole program set out, we’ll train in the Gym, take some technical classes and do some riding and racing.”
“The big thing will be riding the Yamaha R3s at MotoGP track Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, but we will also ride YZ250F’s at Rossi famous Ranch, and also ride mini-bikes on a go-cart track.” Casas originally raced dirt bikes in his native Columbia.
“I’ve dreamed of meeting Rossi since I was a kid, since I ever knew about motorcycles – since I started in motocross, I have used his number 46. Now I’ll be in Tavullia, and everything will be in Rossi yellow, with 46 everywhere!”
“I’ll be back in Canada on May 15, and then finalizing our brand new 2017 Yamaha R6s, ready to go to the opening Mopar CSBK National at Shannonville Motorsport Park, May 25-28. In other years, I haven’t really been ready to ride, it has been a struggle at the start of the season, but this will be a really good start for the 2017 Nationals with my new Yamahas.”
Casas will celebrate his 18th Birthday while in Italy, participating in the third annual “star search” conducted by Rossi on behalf of Yamaha. Previously, Casas has twice attended the selection camp for the famed Red Bulls Rookie Cup for up-and-coming road racers, and has just missed MotoGP support class selection both times.
“Yamaha have increased their support for this season, and we will finally have two bikes, including a B bike, and getting the new bikes ready is a real challenge,” continued Casas. “My main focus is to win the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike National Championship, and I aim to use this opportunity in Europe with Yamaha to develop some contacts, and it could be a real step for me.”
Over the last decade, the Pro Sport Bike series for 600cc class production bikes has been controlled in Canada by National stars Jordan Szoke, Jodi Christie and Kenny Riedmann, but none of those racers will be chasing victory in this category in 2017. This opens up the chase for the Crown, and Casas joins young guns such as Mitch Card, Will Hornblower and Stacey Nesbitt, as well as veterans like Louie Raffa and Alex Coelho, as likely contenders for the Title in what is expected to be an exciting Championship chase.