Yamaha Riders On The Pace 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. 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.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike team - 1.32"36 (160 laps)
"It was a good test for me. 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."

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike team - 1.32"10 (100 laps)
"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. 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."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team manager
"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. 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!"

Yamaha World Supersport team get down to business
The Yamaha World Supersport team riders got straight down to business in Phillip Island in the last pre-season test, showing excellent form and proving they have the pace to run at the front of the pack from the off. Young ex-British Superbike rider Cal Crutchlow proved he has adapted quickly to the Yamaha YZF-R6, lapping consistently and finishing the two-day test fourth quickest with a time of 1.35"3, just 0.5 off fastest rider Sofuoglu. Crutchlow's team mate Fabien Foret has answered any questions about being back on form following last year's crash in Brno, finishing the two-day test just behind Crutchlow in fifth position with a time of 1.35"8.

Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha World Supersport team - 1.35"2 (160 laps)
"I'm really pleased, we've got a lot done, and got a lot of laps in. I'm really looking forward to the race. I'm now consistently up there. I know it's going to be a tough weekend not knowing the circuit in a race situation but I'm feeling confident we can be fighting for the podium. I'm under no illusions it's going to be hard but we've put a lot of work in over the last few days, I want to come out of here with some points and build on it during the year. I'm really enjoying being here, the circuit is fantastic. I've watched it over the years and to come here and ride is a pleasure. When the bike's on form it's a pleasure to ride it, I can't wait to be on the grid waiting to race."

Fabien Foret, Yamaha World Supersport team - 1.35"8 ( 138 laps)
"For me it's been a really good test, I feel we've found a setting that really makes me feel confident. I now feel I am fully back to speed following last year's crash and have also built up more strength for racing. I'm fully fit and happy with my pace. I didn't go out to try and get the fastest lap but was focused on getting a good race pace. The team is working really well, we've worked to find a set-up that suits me here so I'm optimistic that we can go out and fight for the podium this weekend."

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha World Supersport team manager
"The test has been an interesting one for us, on the first day we had some bad luck with some small problems, which were causing small crashes, however both riders were fine and fast despite this. Fabien has been recovered completely and is fitter than he was at the first test at Portimao in January so I'm happy with him. After a long day of riding and trying suspension settings we ended the first day with a half hour starting exercise which went really well. We brought our own starting light system with us to test the response time of the riders. Both performed well which was great! For the second day our target was to test more suspension settings and do a long run in the afternoon. After finding some improvements in the morning we did a long run with both riders, they were riding together for the race distance test, it was good to see them together and they both enjoyed the chance for an on-track fight instead of testing all the time. It was good practice for them as this is also what they will have to do next week. The championship looks like it's going to get really tough this year, but we will be part of it!"

Ben Spies
Tom Sykes
Cal Crutchlow
Fabien Foret