2011 Yamaha World Superbike Prep
Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri completed their three–day test at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia on Thursday.
The two new signings for the 2011 World Superbike season spent the three days testing out various parts including new Ohlins (TRVP25) front forks on both the 2010 and 2011 Yamaha racebike.
A large part of the test for both riders, particularly Melandri, included ongoing physical modifications to the YZF-R1 superbike to fit their riding style, adjusting foot pegs, handlebars and other geometry settings.
The Yamaha Superbike team enjoyed good weather, sunshine and a dry track for the first two days of the World Superbike test with rain only appearing in the last minutes of day two.
The third and final day saw more sunshine with rain only at lunchtime and towards the end of the day’s sessions.
The 2011 superbike tested by the riders featured a revised weight balance, the new Ohlins forks, new engine performance parts and a different seat and fuel tank design. The bike also features standard fuel injectors and fuel pump in line with the 2011 racing regulations.
Laverty was clearly enjoying his third outing on the R1, having been impressively quick in the first two tests, he was again fast from the off, leaving Australia as the fastest rider of the test with a blistering 1’31.5 lap on soft race tires at the end of day three, over half a second faster than closest rider, 2010 World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi.
Laverty also spent some time on race simulation, putting in consistently fast race pace laps.
Following his one-day superbike test in Valencia last month this was Marco Melandri’s first proper opportunity to work through some set up developments on his new Yamaha R1 racebike.
The Italian Yamaha rider improved steadily over the test days, making steps each day as the team continued to modify the physical set up of the bike to suit him.
Day three saw him record a 1’32.4 lap on race tyres. Melandri also took the opportunity in the rain to experience his bike on Pirelli wet tires. The team now have valuable data to take away to work over the winter to make further changes to suit the new riders in advance of the first test of 2011 next year.
Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team, 232 laps, Best Lap 1’31.5) says: "I’m pretty pleased with the test, it’s a nice way to go into the winter break. In the three days we got a lot of laps done, the second day especially was big breakthrough."
"So far we’ve had two one day tests so the second day here was where we really made the bike mine. The race times on the 2011 machine weren’t so far away from 2010 bike so we’re developing in the right direction. The new Ohlins front fork is definitely an improvement. I’m still learning this bike so we are fine tuning it as we go."
Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team, 216 laps, Best Lap 1’32.4) says: "It was a good test in the end, the three days were very intensive. It was quite challenging at first working on the 2011 Yamaha machine but during the second day we started to find a way and then third day we found a big improvement and found a good pace for the race."
"The rain meant we couldn’t find a good lap time with a soft tire but for me that wasn’t what was important here. The difference between a MotoGP bike and a superbike on this track are huge, the bike moves a lot more so the faster corners are very different but step by step it’s getting better and better."
"The feeling is very good, I’m very happy. The track is a difficult track so we have done well and I think we can be very strong for the first race here next year."
Andrea Dosoli (Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager) "These were three very important days for us, after the shakedown of the new bike in Valencia here we had the chance to work on it in more detail."
"We have confirmed that the new bike is pretty good with high potential. We are pleased that it can keep consistent lap times during race simulation. For this we are quite happy as on this track in the past we have struggled."
"Eugene was very fast from the beginning in all three days and had a good feeling working on both bikes. Marco has been working hard, mainly on the 2011 bike. He has been working on rider position; there are still some areas we have to improve for him to be more comfortable on the bike."
"He was very consistent with race pace although he didn’t have time to try a flying lap. After the first two days he struggled a bit with setup then today he found a good one that worked for him and was comfortable so the lap times improved. Overall the Yamaha test was very positive and we are confident we have a good base for the Philip Island race."
Final World Superbike Test Times, Phillip Island:
Eugene Laverty (Yamaha Sterilgarda) 01’31.5
Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) 01’32.1
Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) 01’32.4
Marco Melandri (Yamaha Sterilgarda) 01’32.4