Yamaha World Superbike back in Europe for the San Marino race The Yamaha World Superbike Team head back to Europe this weekend for the eighth round of the 2009 World Championship at the Misano circuit on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Expectations...
Yamaha World Superbike back in Europe for the San Marino race
The Yamaha World Superbike Team head back to Europe this weekend for the eighth round of the 2009 World Championship at the Misano circuit on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Expectations are high as the challenge for the title got closer following an incredible ride by American Ben Spies at his home circuit in Salt Lake City last month. Spies scored a textbook perfect double win in the Utah heat, proving yet again that the combination of the three-time AMA winner's talents and the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 have what it takes to go for the 2009 championship victory.
Spies team-mate Tom Sykes had mixed fortunes in the US but made big steps forward with bike set up which he hopes to capitalize on in the second Italian round of the championship, setting himself up for his home race at Donington the following week.
The Misano circuit is new to both riders, along with a number of other new entries to WSB this year, although the more experienced riders in the series will only be riding this re designed Misano layout for the second time after it was hugely overhauled in 2007, including a change of direction to run clock-wise, and a succession of right-handers at the end of the main straight.
"It's great to be back in Italy again," said Ben Spies. "It was awesome to be home for the Miller race last month, and a dream come true to win in front of my home crowd. Everything felt right at the weekend, I couldn't have been happier. I'm excited about getting on the track at Misano, it's another new circuit to learn which is cool. The Italian fans are amazing which will also make this a special race for us as a team. We need to do well here to keep the championship challenge alive, and I'm confident we can."
"I'm very happy to put the US behind me," said Tom Sykes. "There's no denying we had a couple of issues but I think we're past it. We know everything works well on the bike and we have the pace to run at the front. I'm very much looking forward to Misano now, we've got a couple of things we want to try on the bike so let's hope it works and the track suits my riding style. I'm going in to the weekend feeling confident, I know the team can do a good job so if we can crack it we can get up there. I think this weekend will be the turning of the corner and setting me up for Donington and the rest of the season."
Misano technically speaking according to Tom Houseworth, Ben Spies Crew Chief
"It's going to be tough to repeat the weekend we had at Miller, a circuit where Ben and I had lots of local knowledge. Misano is another circuit we have never seen.The track seems a bit tight with a very fast corner or two which will require quick handling along with stability. For the first session we'll start with a solid base line set up along with our base tyres so Ben can get used to the track and figure out where he is going. He is very good learning new tracks so by the first qualifying session we are usually up to speed. The first qualifying session is where we may try some changes if Ben is uncomfortable with the settings we started with. Because we have never seen this circuit both bikes will be very similar as far as settings go. Once we know where we are going on the circuit and the most comfortable bike is picked and set up, we'll figure out the race rubber, fine tune the traction control, get a good start and hopefully be at the front in both races! Hope to see ya there."
Misano technically speaking according to Sergio Verbena, Tom Sykes Crew Chief
"After the race at Miller, I think we're much more ready and feeling confident about the upcoming Misano race. When we were in the US at Miller unfortunately we didn't have the end race results we were expecting to come away with. We had some problems and were struggling to find a good setting. When Sunday came we found some good solutions and made improvements, but the race was compromised by start position on the grid. We are very confident about Misano, we found some great solutions for the set up in the US that gave more confidence to Tom, so we have a good base setting for the track. We have effectively changed the balance of the bike which now suits his riding style a lot more. We'll use the first sessions to confirm the improvements we've found for the bike, then work on perfecting the set up for the Italian track with Tom before looking at tyre choices for the weekend. It looks like the track temperature is going to be very high so tyre choice is going to be a key issue for the race. We are confident Tom will be back in the front positions over the next couple of rounds."
"Misano will be a very hot race," said Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager. "It is a really tough circuit with many corners and short straights. I think it will be a very hard race for everybody. I'm curious because our previous bike was always fast there during the race but we struggled with tyre life problems. Now with the new 2009 R1 bike we are confident we can overcome this as the smooth torque delivery means we can work the tyres harder without compromising so much on tyre life. After the Miller race the championship is more open, we will do all we can from here to the end of the season to try and catch Nori."