Qatar: Yamaha Thursday notes

Yamaha set the pace on day one at Qatar The Yamaha World Superbike Team riders answered any questions raised about their ability to learn new tracks quickly on their first day of qualifying at the Qatar circuit. Three-time AMA champion Ben ...

Yamaha set the pace on day one at Qatar

The Yamaha World Superbike Team riders answered any questions raised about their ability to learn new tracks quickly on their first day of qualifying at the Qatar circuit. Three-time AMA champion Ben Spies finished the day fastest of all Superbike riders, with an impressive time of 1"58.886. Spies' team-mate, Young British star Tom Sykes also found his way around the dusty, sand-swept track quickly, spending most of the session lapping in the top three. His decision to hold back on fresh tires at the end of the session dropped him to 12th on the grid with a time of 2"00.283.

Both Spies and Sykes are new to the Qatar circuit in Losail, but have proved with their first day's qualifying, and supported by their results at Phillip Island that they are not daunted by the challenge of new circuits and can be quick straight out of the box. The all-new 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 is also proving to be an extremely competitive bike, taking the young riders to the front of the pack at the beginning of the season.

In contrast to other race rounds, the qualifying will take place tomorrow and the races on Saturday, the WSB lights going off at 10.00 and 13.30 CET and the WSS race at 11.25 CET.

Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team

"The track has been great for my first day here and the team have been working great as always, we're continuing to make the bike better and better, hopefully we can get even faster for the race! We can't forget there are many fast guys out here and I'm sure they're doing their homework too."

Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team

"I took it a little bit steady today, we've been working hard and trying race tires in preparation for Saturday. All in all were reasonably happy and it's left us a lot of tires to play with. Straight away I was in the top three in the session, I know I can run fairly consistently with the top guys, so tomorrow we're going to make some small changes to the bike and improve the set up. Australia didn't really happen in qualifying for me which made it harder in the race so I'm looking for a better grid position for Saturday."

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager "The first practice and qualifying session went very well for the team today. Both Ben and Tom were very fast and I was pleased with how quickly they learnt the circuit. Tom decided to only use one set of tires this afternoon and was in the top five until fifteen minutes to the end when most of the riders changed tires. Ben was again very quick, adapting well to the new circuit and putting in an impressive qualifying time. We have more work to do tomorrow, but are pleased with the day."

-credit: yamaha

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