Assen: Yamaha preview

Yamaha head to Assen looking to close the championship lead The Yamaha World Superbike Team head to Assen for round four of the World Championship fresh from testing in Monza last week and looking to build on the mixed success of round three in...

Yamaha head to Assen looking to close the championship lead

The Yamaha World Superbike Team head to Assen for round four of the World Championship fresh from testing in Monza last week and looking to build on the mixed success of round three in Valencia.

Assen is another new circuit for the Yamaha riders to learn in their debut year in World Superbike, however this hasn't stopped them putting in strong performances so far, with Ben Spies currently second in the championship with three race wins already under his belt.

The Assen circuit itself has undergone big changes from its early days as an open-road circuit, the present day incarnation offering much more in terms of spectator access to watch the action as it unfolds on track. Assen is traditionally a good circuit for four cylinder bikes and the new 2009 YZF-R1 is already proving to be a formidable machine under the control of Sykes and Spies.

The Yamaha riders arrived in Holland a day early to spend some time at the Yamaha Motor Europe headquarters and meet some of the Yamaha family. They got a rare opportunity to see inside the enormous high tech parts warehouse that supplies almost all of the Yamaha parts for Europe and took time to have some lunch with Yamaha Motor Europe President Hayakawa-san and discuss the upcoming race in Assen. The riders were escorted to the Yamaha headquarters with an impressive procession of Superbikes from the Dutch R1 club.

Outside of World Superbike the new 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 has kept the victories rolling in, extending the Moto GP derived machine's dominating winning streak to include the Le Mans 24HR du Moto and a number of European national Superbike wins including British Superbike, French Superbike and the Dutch series.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team

"I'm feeling good and looking forward to getting back in the swing of things. I left Valencia not too happy but feel better after we had a good test at Monza. I think we found a little something there which is good. It's great to go to another track we don't know and learn the circuit, see how we get on and still be up front on Sunday. It should be a fun weekend."

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team

"There's no question, I'm really looking forward to Assen, it's a circuit I've always wanted to race at. Unfortunately it's not the old circuit I grew up watching but at the end of the day it's still Assen! I'm especially looking forward to it as I feel the new R1 will work really well there. After a successful test in Monza hopefully we are edging closer to the podium and ultimately a win."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

"we had good test in Monza recently so we are ready for Assen now. We're feeling very positive, I think we can get really good results at the circuit which would be great as it is the home race for Yamaha Motor Europe. I think the circuit will be very good for the new R1, we have the potential to do very well."

Assen technically speaking according to Tom Houseworth, Ben Spies' Crew Chief

"Assen is a new track for me and Ben and the bike is completely different this year with the crossplane crankshaft, fly by wire throttle and, new to myself and Ben, variable intakes. We will approach the first session with a base setting that should allow Ben to learn the track quickly and allow us to collect useful set up data for the later sessions. The chassis is quite good, with bike 1 we will use a base setting form the Monza test to get started. Bike 2 will have a slightly different setting we came up with from looking at previous suspension data and Bens tendencies at this type of track.

"The data and rider feeling will tell us which way to go after the first session; hopefully we have done our homework and are close with one of the bikes! Going to a new track presents some unique challenges for us. We must learn the track quickly, evaluate the bike set up and get the set up close as quickly as possible. This is important as we need to start looking at race tyres and that can be difficult if you're in and out of the pit box chasing set up. The quicker we start evaluating race rubber the better chance we have in the race."

"Once race setup and race tyres are chosen then we fine tune the mapping and the traction control as needed, watching the track and air temp closely. Everything has to come together as one to have a good race and be near the front!"

-credit: yamaha

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Ben Spies , Tom Sykes