News 17 Jul 2009

WSBK: Yamaha rookies make positive debut testing at Imola

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The World Superbike Championship has the Italian round of Imola back on the calendar this year so the teams have spent the last two days testing their machines there in preparation for the upcoming races on the 27th September. The track is new for both Ben Spies and Tom Sykes however it was clear from the two day test that neither the lack of track knowledge or the sweltering Italian sunshine was going to prevent them from displaying some serious pace. Day one saw Spies leading the field until the very end of the sessions where rive Fabrizio made a couple of extra tenths on fresh tyres. Day two such much of the same with the American rider working through his set up and understanding the circuit in advance of the race in September.

Team mate Sykes was showing the consistent turn of speed we are now seeing from the British rider and ended the first day second fastest Brit in the pack in seventh place behind Bryne in sixth. Day two saw the morning session go well for Sykes, moving up to fifth and shaving three tenths of the previous day’s time, he held onto the fifth spot at the end of the day and came away in confident mood for the upcoming Brno round.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team
“It’s been a really good couple of days testing for me, we’ve not been out there trying to be the fastest guys, but have been focused on working through the set up of the bike to make sure we have everything ready for when we race here and also just to shake it down. It’s been really hot so I’m looking forward to getting away from the track now and relaxing before we go to Brno next week.”

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team
“I started off had a good chat with the team here and then moved into testing with a good plan in mind. We worked through quite a lot on the bike including suspension and brakes and tried some new tyres too and it all came good. I ended up fifth overall which was good, where we should be nearer the top. It’s certainly where I want to be and closing the gap on the front now. Hopefully we’re heading to Brno with more information from the test and we’ll be strong there.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“in the end it was a good test for us. Both riders now know the Imola circuit. We tested some new tyres as well which were interesting. We also worked a lot on the bike set up with both riders. Unfortunately the temperature was really high here which made it tough. We’re ok and ready for the next race where we have to catch Noriyuki up and we’re ready to be more focused for the championship win.”

Crutchlow on fire in the Italian Sunshine

Yamaha World Supersport rider Cal Crutchlow continues to be the man to catch in the World Supersport Championship after displaying more of the blistering speed at Imola that has kept him at the front of the pack so far this year. The first day of testing ended with Crutchlow setting a 1’52.9 lap, over six tenths faster than any other rider on the track, another he has never ridden before. Day two saw more impressive riding as he consistently led the field, only passed by Sofuoglu in the dying stages of the day.

Team mate Fabien Foret got quietly down to business in day one, putting in impressive laps to finish the day fourth in the standings two tenths of a second behind title challenger Eugene Laverty. Day two saw the French rider put down more consistent times to end in fourth.

The Yamaha World Supersport Team also took part in a one day test at Brno last week. The test was Fabien Foret’s first run on the Czech circuit since he crashed there last year. It was Crutchlow’s first time at Brno however the English rider was fast from the off, going under the lap record in the process.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha World Supersport Team
“It’s been really good for me to come here and learn the circuit, I didn’t use anywhere near as many tyres as some of the other riders so was really happy with the times I’ve managed to put in. I’m looking forward to coming back and racing here. I also had a good run in Brno last week, great to get the lap record and I’m really excited about racing there next week.”

Fabien Foret, Yamaha Word Supersport Team
“I’m really happy with my riding here. I’ve found some tyres I really like which has helped me find the front end a bit more on the bike so I’m looking forward to testing that in race conditions. Brno was interesting last week, it was a big deal to come back here after my crash last year so it was very important to go round the track and feel ok.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha World Supersport Team Manager
“We are very pleased with what we have achieved here, Cal has been fast on both days. We tried everything we wanted to test and we come away with some good information. We’ve learnt some things for the race here as well. Fabien found a really good front tyre and finishing fourth behind the top guys is good so he’s pleased. For Brno it was good to come back to a track where Fabien had big crash last year and it was important for Cal to learn the track and he broke the lap record so it’s fair to say he likes it there! Let’s see how he goes next week.”