In the Australian sunshine
The Yamaha World Superbike team has enjoyed a successful final pre-season test at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.
The two day test was the final shakedown for the 2009 YZF-R1 in advance of the season opening race this coming weekend
and was a valuable opportunity for both riders to get to know the track.
Three-time AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies ended the final day of testing with a quick 1.32”36 lap time, a mere 0.2 of a second off fastest rider Michele Fabrizio.
“It was a good test for me”, he said. “We worked on a lot of race stuff, we had some tires to test and get through for Pirelli then we got up to speed on the track and did some longer stints getting the bike to work on race setup. We were looking good for race pace, we did a race simulation and it felt really good. For sure we only got two days testing on the track and the whole race weekend is going to add some adrenaline. I'm extremely happy with the bike and the team is working really well so I can't wait to get started.”
Fellow Yamaha World Superbike team rider Tom Sykes had a crash on the start of the second day of testing and spent a large part of the day resting before going back out again for a final run. He too stepped up the pace and finished the day with an overall time of 1.32”10, a great result considering he missed most of the day's track time after his fall.
“I was more than happy with day one, having never seen Phillip Island before, I went out and pulled a 1.33”2, which wasn't too bad considering it's a new track for me”, he commented.
“We worked on some minor adjustments and worked on getting a good base setting for the bike. I'm more than confident in its capabilities and set up, we're pretty much on the times. Going into day two I knew I could improve, but unfortunately on my first run, getting up to speed I had a fall. I wasn't even busting myself and not sure how it happened, got on it a bit too soon at the exit of turn 2, ran wide by two feet and where the tarmac ripples slightly the rear end low sided, I caught it then high sided the other way! Luckily I have no serious injuries so will be fighting fit and raring to go at the weekend. I went back out again at the end of the second day and found my pace again easily so am still confident to fight for the podium.
“The test went well with the exception of Tom's crash. We didn't have so many problems and it was very important that the guys learned the circuit as it's a new one for them”, added Team Manager Massimo Meregalli. “By the end of the first day they were making good laps with great pace. By the end of the last day, Ben was up with the fastest riders, Fabrizio and Haga. Tom had a big crash in the morning of the second day, the doctor said to stay in the clinic until the afternoon to rest. In the late afternoon he came back out for one and a half hours time on track, it was impressive as with his last lap he made his fastest lap of the test. In the end the test was also a big running in for us as the bike is still new, we tried to find the best set up, and tried some different tires. We've answered all our questions and feel really good about going into the first race weekend in a few days time, we're ready to fight!”