Qatar: Yamaha YZF preview

GOOD PRESEASON TESTING FOR NAKATOMI Shinichi Nakatomi is confident for the opening round of the 2008 Superbike World Championship, having done a time of 2'00.7 on the Losail circuit. It's only a little bit more than one second over the...

GOOD PRESEASON TESTING FOR NAKATOMI

Shinichi Nakatomi is confident for the opening round of the 2008 Superbike World Championship, having done a time of 2'00.7 on the Losail circuit. It's only a little bit more than one second over the quickest time of Troy Bayliss, who did 1'58.8 on the new 1200 Ducati. Nakatomi did his time with less performing tyres, so his performance is quite interesting.

Martial Garcia (team manager): "The time that Nakatomi did during the preseason tests in Qatar is satisfying because he did it with 2007 control tyres, when the quicker times were made with 2008 development tyres. We are more ready this year than we were last year in the beginning of the season. This is very useful." The Yamaha YZF R1 is in great shape, and there is an improvement for the suspension with new KYB parts.

Shinichi Nakatomi: "This season is looking good. The preseason testing went very well. I have a better feeling than last year at the same period of time. We shall receive new engine parts after the Phillip Island race and we are looking for a better potential."

Shinichi Nakatomi won the 250cc Japanese Championship in 2000, and Yamaha gave him the opportunity to participate in the Superbike World Championship in 2006 with Norifumi Abe and Sebastien Gimbert. In his first season, he finished 17th, earning points 11 times, with an 8th position as best result. Still with Martial Garcia's team last year, he finished 15th, 17 times in the points with three 9th positions for best result.

This year is the beginning of the YZF Yamaha Junior Team with two young riders: Sylvain Barrier will race the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and Loris Baz the Superstock 600 European Championship. They will both start their season at Valencia.

The track

The circuit features 16 bends (10 right, 6 left) and is 5380 m long, 12 m wide. The main straight is 1068 m long. This will be the fourth time the WSBK championship comes to this circuit, which was opened in July 2004. It was built in about two years at a cost of around $58 million. A special lighting equipment will be used this year for the first time ever for the next Grand Prix of Qatar.

-credit: yzfyamaha/orange.fr

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