News 25 Jun 2009

WSBK: Yamaha WSBK joined by BSB team at Donington Park

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Yamaha World Superbike riders Ben Spies and Tom Sykes head to Donington this weekend in confident mood as both have good track knowledge here and have raced on the East Midlands circuit before. Sykes is a veteran of Donington coming from British Superbikes in 2008 and Spies raced as a wildcard at the British circuit in MotoGP last year, scoring a 14th place finish. Sykes also had a wildcard ride at Donington last year in World Superbikes, putting in an incredible ride to finish second behind 2008 champion Troy Bayliss in race one.

Ben Spies comes to Donington just 48 points behind championship leader Noriyuki Haga, with 12 races (6 rounds) still to go in the season, the title is still very much up for grabs. Team-mate Sykes has shown consistent improvements over the season and comes to his home race looking to put the 2009 R1 on the podium having made big steps in finding his perfect bike set up over the last two race events in the USA and Italy.

British Superbike’s GSE Racing team will be present as wildcards for the Donington round. Championship leader Leon Camier and second placed rider James Ellison will be pitting their 2009 Airwaves Yamaha R1s against their World Superbike counterparts, offering an impressive display of the dominating Yamaha race bikes performance on race day. The successful pair have won 9 out of the 10 races in the British Superbike Championship and both have scored a race victory in the Donington round and look forward to display their strength on world level.

“Misano was another mixed race weekend,” said Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team. “We worked hard all weekend and it showed on both races, unfortunately without the right result in the second one, although we still took more points and got closer to the lead. It’s good to come to a circuit I know and have raced on before, giving me more time to work on the set up instead of learning the track. I really enjoyed racing here in MotoGP last year, so Sunday should be exciting! We need to leave here having taken more points away from Nori, so we can go to Brno with the championship lead in sight.”

“After Misano I think we’re definitely heading in the right direction towards getting the right balance on the bike for me,” said Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team. “I should know what I need from the R1 for Donington from previous track experience. I had a good run last year as a wildcard so if I can improve on race one where I finished second I’ll be happy. There are a couple of set up options to try, I already understand the circuit so I should really get to grips with the changes we make quite easily and hopefully we can do well. I want to come away with a perfect base setting for the remainder of the season and a podium or two and some decent points!”

Donington technically speaking according to Tom Houseworth, Ben Spies Crew Chief
“Donington is a circuit Ben has raced on before so we know where we are going. As far as setup is concerned we really don’t have any info from his past experience there though. The circuit has average grip so the focus is to look for grip as well as tyre life, as always. Rain is a strong possibility at this event so we need to be ready for that as well. For this circuit both bikes will be set up a bit different to explore options for more grip or better turning, which bike we continue with depends on Ben’s comments after the first session. If we have any rain we will have a wet bike and a dry bike. The wet set up is not too much different than the dry set up however we do use a different map for wet conditions. Hope to see ya there!”

Donington technically speaking according to Sergio Verbena, Tom Sykes Crew Chief
“It’s really useful for us that Tom has raced at Donington several times so already has really good track knowledge. This will help us set the bike up quickly for him as he will know exactly what he is looking for in the settings. We made big changes to the balance of the bike from Miller which worked well at Misano so we will take this base set-up to Donington, and see how Tom finds it on the circuit before making any changes. We hope to be set up very quickly to give Tom a good chance to qualify well and be at the front for race day.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“We are always confident heading into the races this year as our team is so strong. Tom is back on his own track so that will give him extra confidence. We also have some new clutches so Ben should be confident as well! We are ready to fight again, the target of the championship win is still there and we believe we can win it.”

Crutchlow heads home looking to extend championship lead in Donington

After an incredible race win in difficult racing conditions at the Misano round for the 2009 World Supersport Championship last weekend, British rider Cal Crutchlow is preparing to do it all again on Sunday in front of his home crowd at Donington. Crutchlow is no stranger to the Donington circuit having ridden there regularly in 2008 in the British Superbike Championship with great success. Lack of international track knowledge has not stopped Crutchlow from dominating this year’s season, but good track knowledge could see him perform even better.

Team mate Fabien Foret missed out on the Donington round last year after a big crash in Brno left him recovering for several rounds, he heads to the British circuit looking to ride the circuit on a Yamaha for the first time on the Friday free practice session ready for Saturday’s qualifying.

“It’ll be good to go to my home race,” said Cal Crutchlow. “I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to be getting in front of British fans and doing my best for them. I’m not treating this round any different from any other race though as we want to win them all with no exceptions. Having said that, to win at home would be nice!”

“It’s going to be the first time here on a Yamaha for me,” said Fabien Foret. ” I didn’t race here last year as I was still recovering from my crash in so I’m looking forward to spending some time on the track and learning how it feels with this bike on Friday. The bike set up is working really well for me at the moment, I’m hoping the weather stays good all weekend so we can really test some of the set up changes.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha World Supersport Team Manager
“Donington will be a special race for both our riders. It looks like the weather is quite consistent for the weekend which is good. Last year was a funny race, the weather was very unpredictable so I hope it will be dry for practices this year to test our packages and make sure they are good enough to be in front as we are lacking data from this circuit. The information we have from last year’s race from when Eugene Laverty rode for us is what we will be using to prepare for this weekend which is odd as he is now our main competition. Cal is really keen to perform well at his home round and for Fabien it’s the first on the Yamaha at Donington so let’s wait and see what happens! The base setup is working very well at each round so far, we didn’t change much for Misano last week, so I expect it to work well in here.”