Spies and Sykes hunt for the perfect set-up in South Africa Yamaha rider Ben Spies had a steady first day of qualifying at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa today. Spies spent the day working through some small issues to improve the set-up of...
Spies and Sykes hunt for the perfect set-up in South Africa
Yamaha rider Ben Spies had a steady first day of qualifying at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa today. Spies spent the day working through some small issues to improve the set-up of the bike in advance of tomorrow's second qualifying session and afternoon Superpole heats. Although hunting for the perfect set-up, Spies was still very strong in the session, ending in third position, behind Rea and Fabrizio.
Team-mate Tom Sykes managed to find a relatively good pace from the outset today, although he did struggle with the set-up of his bike and will work on larger changes in advance of Saturday's sessions to ensure he gets a faster pace and move further up the pack. He finished the first qualifying session in eighth position, ahead of Aprilia rider Max Biaggi.
Issues facing both riders in finding a good set-up include corner entry speed, and the surface of the Kyalami track itself. There are a large number of bumps on the circuit, making it difficult to fine tune the set up for race day.
The World Superbike Championship is back in South Africa and the Kyalami circuit this weekend for the first time since 2002. The championship has undergone major changes since the last visit, including a single tyre rule and a wealth of new team entries. Only three riders in this weekend's line up were present at the last race, Noriyuki Haga, Broc Parkes and Rueben Xaus, making it a more level playing field for Yamaha rookies.
The Yamaha team also tested in Kyalami last year, meaning they come to the track with valuable data and a good set up to start with, although the bike they ran here previously was a far less developed machine than the current incarnation of the 2009 R1 race bike.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team, (3rd, 1'38.600)
"We've been going through the motions today, working things out with the bike as we've struggled with a couple of points. We haven't really gone crazy but been steady, and will make some more changes now so we can get ready to turn it up tomorrow and get on it."
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (8th, 1'39.258)
"We've been working out a couple of changes for tomorrow, we're going to change the geometry of the bike to help around the circuit, which should make me quicker. I'm looking forward to being stronger on the circuit and faster as a result. We tried some good tyres today and found a good race pace. I'm looking to be the fastest though so with the changes for tomorrow we should be in for big improvements."
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"We have been working on the bike set up today, it's not perfect yet. We've also been working with the race tyres, both riders have done lots of laps on the same tyres which we think we'll use in the race, they've been performing well and the pace is pretty good. Tonight we're going to go through the feedback from the riders, and analyse the data we've gathered and work on improving the bike set up for tomorrow's qualifying sessions and Superpole."
The Yamaha France GMT 94 IPONE Team will have South African rider Shaun Whyte in place of David Checa for the Kyalami race weekend.