2011 World Superbike Prep
Yamaha World Superbike 2011 teammates Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty took to the track together for the first time on Thursday, taking part in a one-day test at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.
Despite strong winds both riders enjoyed a sunny dry track, enabling them to put both the 2010 and new 2011 racebike through its paces.
The Superbike test was the first track outing for new Team Manager Andrea Dosoli, joining the team for 2011 in place of Massimo Meregalli who moves within the Yamaha family to work with the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team.
The session was Melandri’s first opportunity to ride the Yamaha YZF-R1 and also his first day working with his new Superbike team.
Riding on the Pirelli tires for the first time, the Italian adapted quickly, spending the majority of the day on the 2010 bike to get acquainted with the Yamaha R1 Superbike and give the team time to make basic set up changes to fit his physical shape on the bike.
He impressed the team, settling in quickly to set an impressive fastest lap time on a qualifier tire, only two tenths of a second off times from the previous day’s MotoGP test.
Melandri’s new Yamaha Superbike Teammate Eugene Laverty got straight down to business today. Having already experienced the powerful 2010 Yamaha R1 at the Mangy Cours Official World Superbike Test three weeks ago he took the opportunity to spend some time not just on the 2010 bike but also on the new 2011 YZF-R1 racebike, providing valuable data for the team in preparation of the upcoming test at Phillip Island in Australia at the beginning of December.
The new Yamaha YZF-R1 follows a design philosophy of reduced weight and optimal weight balance for greater traction. The superbike tested today also featured the new for 2011 Ohlins front forks, tested by both riders. The superbike adheres to the 2011 FIM regulations for the championship, featuring standard fuel injectors, fuel pump and fuel regulators.
Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team – 1’33.9, 79 laps) says: "It was a very good first day. In the beginning it was a completely different feeling to a MotoGP bike, much bigger! Lap by lap the feeling got better and better and I really enjoyed it. I was riding smoothly and I was especially happy with the Pirelli tires, I got a really good feeling for the bike with them. I love the engine, it was impressive so I am very excited to go to Australia and carry on."
Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team – 1’34.9, 76 laps): says:
"I’m feeling really comfortable with the bike. At Magny Cours I didn’t want to judge too much by one track, Valencia is very different so to feel good here as well is very positive. I rode the 2011 bike and we managed to gather a lot of really useful data to help prepare for the next test at Phillip Island. I’m feeling really positive, I think we’re heading in the right direction to have a very competitive bike for the new season."
Andrea Dosoli (Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager) says: "Today was good, it feels nice to be involved in such a professional environment, the team is working really well. I believe there is a good base here to achieve great results and have a good feeling with both the riders."
"I was a little worried about Marco’s first experience on a heavier bike with different tires but I’m really happy that he had a good feeling and adapted quickly to the new tires and bike, the lap time for him was not so bad either."
"Eugene has a lot of potential and is very motivated, he was working on different settings between the 2010 and 2011 bikes and was providing very clear feedback for the team to work with. We will go away now and use this information to prepare for the test in Australia in three weeks time."