Yamaha World Superbike riders Ben Spies and Tom Sykes are ready for action at the famous Nurburgring circuit in the Eifel Mountains this weekend. Following a five week break for the summer, Spies is refreshed and raring to take the fight to rival Noriyuki Haga for the championship lead with only seven points separating them after the last round in Brno.
With only four rounds remaining the closing races of the 2009 season look set to be a hotly fought contest for the championship title. Spies could potentially walk away from Germany having taken the lead from Haga should the races go his way on Sunday. As with most of the tracks this year, neither Spies or Sykes have raced on the Nurburgring circuit before, although this has long since ceased to be an issue for them as they have adapted quickly and taken valuable championship points and victories from a variety of unknown tracks.
“It has been great to have some time out to relax at home in the US”, said Ben Spies. “I’m fully recharged and really excited about getting stuck into some more racing. We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain so I’m just going to keep on giving it 100% and see what we can do to catch Nori this weekend.”
Nurburgring technically speaking according to Tom Houseworth, Ben Spies Crew Chief
“Heading into the Nurburgring we have a couple of issues to address, this will force us to change just a bit from our normal routine. By now it seems normal going to a circuit we have never seen. From what we have heard the corners are a bit slower than Brno with braking very important into them, so we will start with a different setup for our #2 machine. For the first session Ben will learn the track as quickly as possible on our #1 machine and evaluate chassis, gearbox and overall performance. The second session we are planning to start on the #2 machine to evaluate a setup targeting performance under very heavy braking. If all goes well the #2 machine will do everything the #1 machine does plus what we’re looking for under braking. Friday will be a busy first day as we have quite a bit to sort out in the two sessions including very important gearbox ratios. Saturday will provide us time to sort race rubber and try some different links or geometry depending on the mechanical grip we have and be ready for Sunday. If all goes well Sunday we hope to see ya on the box!”
“I’m very much looking forward to it”, said Tom Sykes. We’ve had a long break, after two weeks I start getting a bit bored so am fired up and ready to go for it. It’s my first time at the track so I’ve got some learning to do, it’s easy to learn a track but tricky to find the last little bit. Hopefully we’ve made some improvements over the break with the bike as well so I’m looking forward to putting them to good use.”
Nurburgring technically speaking according to Sergio Verbena, Tom Sykes Crew Chief
“Apart from the gearbox settings I don’t feel we need to start with a special setting for this circuit, we have a base setting we will be starting with that we use for all races. Based on Tom’s feedback from the first sessions we will make adjustments to the suspension, steering, geometry and braking to fit to the track. We shouldn’t need to make any big changes as the settings we’re using so far have been working ok almost everywhere. So for first practice on Friday we’ll concentrate on fine-tuning the setting for the track, and we’ll start to check tyres as well. We’ll have many options with the Pirelli tyres, so it’s important to start work on tyres from the first practice. By the first qualifying session we must understand which tyre can have the best performance, because we will need a good lap time in case it starts to rain on Saturday!”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“After Brno we have worked really hard during the summer break. We have increased the performance of the bike and I think we have a good possibility to catch Nori now. Both the riders have had a good rest and we are just waiting for the next weekend now to get back onto the track and race and see if we can take the championship lead.”
The 2009 Yamaha R1 has already won a European championship, having carried Jorg Teuchert to victory in the IDM German Superbike Championship.