The World SBK Championship has found a new star in Marco Melandri, who at Valencia is completing his first laps on board the Yamaha YZF-R1 he will race in next year’s motorcycle-racing championship.In excellent weather conditions and 17 degree temperatures, Melandri lapped both on the ex-Crutchlow superbike and the 2011 version, which amongst other things the new motorcycle will have a different weight distribution.
The former MotoGP rider, who has struggled his last few years on the Honda RC212V, was fast straight out of the gate on his new found ride in WSBK.Marco Melandri says: "I immediately found a good feeling with the bike, which is very powerful but also easy to handle, it gives me the impression of being an easy bike to ‘interpret’, even though it’s still too early to give a definitive opinion. I’m here just to get an early contact with it"."In MotoGP there is no chance of being a protagonist if you don’t have the right bike or you’re not in the right team, in Superbike things are different." "There it’s the rider that makes all the difference and that’s exactly what I’m looking for after a few disappointing seasons", the 28 year-old from Ravenna had declared before making his testing debut with the Yamaha R1 that won the World Superbike Title in 2009 with Ben Spies.The Yamaha SBK Team’s other new rider, Irishman Eugene Laverty, is also taking part in the one-day Yamaha motorcycle test.Melandri covered a total of 74 laps, setting a best time of 1’33.9 on soft tires and 1’34.28 on race rubber, while Laverty’s best was 1’34.9. The lap record at Valencia belongs to Noriyuki Haga (Ducati back in 2009) in 1’34.618.Marco Melandri and Yamaha will next test again at the end of November at Phillip Island (Australia) together with Aprilia and the 2010 World SBK World Champion Max Biaggi.