New Yamaha YZF-R1 sets a blistering pace with pole position in Australia Yamaha World Superbike Team rider Ben Spies, a World Superbike rookie and three-time AMA champion, has secured the first Superpole of the 2009 season in an incredible...
New Yamaha YZF-R1 sets a blistering pace with pole position in Australia
Yamaha World Superbike Team rider Ben Spies, a World Superbike rookie and three-time AMA champion, has secured the first Superpole of the 2009 season in an incredible display of speed and skill on the new Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike at the Phillip Island circuit with a time of 1.31"069. Team-mate Tom Sykes put in an impressive display in the new format Superpole, a mere 0.8 of a second behind Spies with a time of 1.31"881, he will start the race tomorrow on 12th position on the grid.
Equally impressive as the riders performance was that of the all new 2009 YZF-R1, the M1 GP inspired bike has proved to be incredibly quick and stable straight out of the box, the crossplane crank shaft and uneven firing order giving both Spies and Sykes the right tools to get the power down fast and hard through the corners and take the fight to the top of the table.
Spies ended the first day of qualifying in 9th position, before moving up to 8th on the second session, improving his time by nearly half a second while he focused on consistent lapping. His final Superpole time was nearly a second and a half faster than his first qualifying session. Sykes also improved from the first session, taking nearly half a second off his first qualifying session. Both riders go into tomorrow's races confident in their speed and consistency.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team
"For the first two qualifying sessions, we were taking it very steady, we only used one set of tires each session, looking to be consistent and doing some more laps. We turned up the heat in Superpole and found some more time and in the final lap we pulled the pin and went for it. It was tricky as the track was pretty windy so maybe we could have got a bit faster. It's the first pole position for the new Yamaha and for me too. Now the focus is totally on having a good race package and good race pace, I think it's going to be great racing tomorrow. The bike is incredible, I'm feeling really confident in its abilities, I can't wait to race tomorrow!"
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team
"For me things have been good out here. We've been making steady progress all weekend and we've found the direction we need to be going in. I don't feel we've got where we need to be yet, perhaps where we should be but we're getting there. Overall it's looking pretty good, we seem to be able to do the times, unfortunately in Superpole we got caught out with a tire which wasn't as consistent as it should have been forcing a switch and costing time. So we've had a bit of bad luck, on the plus side I'm confident of getting on the pace and fighting for the podium in the race tomorrow."
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team manager
"I think we have done a good job so far and the test last weekend helped us. The bike set up is good, and the tire life is as well. If everything stays the same I think we are in a good position. Ben did a perfect lap in Superpole and has been very consistent through all the sessions, I'm very happy. Tom was also really good, good in practice and qualifying, he's on the third row but he has good pace and with a good start he can fight with the pack and make it in the race. We're all ready for tomorrow and really excited about the potential of our riders to go out and race."