After a successful debut season contesting the 2022 All Japan Motocross Championships that saw him dominate the IA2 (250cc) class, winning an unprecedented 15 out of 16 motos on his way to his championship victory, Australia’s Jay Wilson is back in the land of the Rising Sun for another season, this time stepping up to the IA1 (450cc) division for Yamaha.Wilson signed a deal to continue his long and successful relationship with Yamaha in the newly formed Yamaha Factory Innovation Racing Team. In additional to his previous roles as a coach and mentor to up and coming Japanese riders, as well as test and develop future products for Yamaha, Wilson will also take on management duties of the new team while racing the premier 450cc class.
“2022 was a great year for me and my family and we have really found a home for ourselves in Japan both on and off the track,” Wilson explains. “We have embraced living here in Japan and when presented with the opportunity to stay for 2023 and continue my relationship with Yamaha, it was a pretty simple decision.
“I still feel I have a few good years of racing left in me and moving to the IA1 class on the YZ450F is a challenge I’m ready for. The 2023 YZ450F is an awesome bike and Yamaha have surrounded me with a group of great people, so I will set my goals high, work hard and do my best to try and secure Yamaha another championship.”
Wilson made the quick trip home to Australia over the Christmas period to spend time with his family before heading over to New Zealand for a month long boot camp adjusting to the bigger capacity machine.
“Yamaha were fully supportive of me doing a pre-season boot camp in New Zealand and sent over my mechanic as well as some components to test in preparation for the new season. Despite the weather, I was able to get plenty of hours on the bike and feel I have adjusted to the 450 well and really enjoy riding the new bike.”
In addition to his racing commitments of racing the All-Japanese Motocross Championships, Wilson finds his development role satisfying as he spends long hours at the test track working through a range of products being assessed for future production use. In 2022, his main focus in development was an Electric Power Steering system (EPS) that he used to great success in winning the IA2 championship.
“It’s amazing to see the development direction of dirt bikes and just what is coming down the pipeline. Over the course of the last 12 months, the EPS system improved significantly and now is a great asset to have on my race bike. I have no idea with what I will be presented with next but that is part of the fun, not knowing the direction the engineers take and then trying to shape that idea into something useable and tangible on a dirt bike.”
Wilson is already back in Japan and hard at work with his Yamaha team. With round one set to go on April 12, it promises to be another exciting season for the Australian.
“My wife and daughter have really enjoyed the Japanese way of life. Both have fit in really well with Poppy going to school over here and learning the Japanese language, while Misty is super supportive of my racing and takes care of so many things off the track that I simply don’t have time for. It’s a real family effort and I’m glad to have them here with me and are part of the success I’m able to achieve with Yamaha,” Wilson ends.