Following the 2011 World Superbike Championship, Yamaha departed from the series, attributing financial difficulties. Two years earlier in 2009, the rookie Ben Spies proved Yamaha its first and only WSBK title, the Texan piloting the YZF-R1 to 14 wins in 28 races.But Yamaha returns to the World SBK grid in 2016 with two pilots that will surely be title contenders – the 2013 British Superbike Champion Alex Lowes, and the 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli.
Yamaha’s official return to SBK began this week with a two-day test at the Jerez Circuit in Spain. During the test, Lowes, 25, and Guintoli, 33, got their first shakedown aboard the Pata Yamaha R1.Lowes completed 121 laps, and Guintolo 100 as they successfully completed some setup work on the new Yamaha R1. The next test for the Pata Yamaha Team will be at Aragon in two weeks time.Alex Lowes says: ”My first go on the YZF-R1 and I absolutely loved it! We’ve got a lot of work to do but the potential of the bike is really good. There is a lot that I need to learn and change with my style, so I have a lot I need to improve myself, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.“The bike has a lot of potential already as I’ve said so I’m looking forward to getting out in Aragon already – if there wasn’t so much work for the boys to do I’d want to go there tomorrow! I really enjoyed riding the YZF-R1, it’s been lots of fun and it’s nice to get the project started so successfully.”Sylvain Guintoli says: “Well, a very positive first contact with the YZF-R1! We’ve managed to do quite a lot of work but most importantly the base of the bike – the chassis and power delivery – feels really good. It was a positive test overall and I’m looking forward to carrying on the progress in the next practice in Aragon and Jerez. I really enjoyed riding it – it reminds me a lot of the M1 from 2007, I can see and feel the same philosophy behind the bike – so yes, a very positive first impression and it’s nice to feel such a good atmosphere with Yamaha.”
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!