Yamaha makes final superbike preparations in Losail and Valencia
Yamaha Press Release
Yamaha's world superbike stars made their final preparations ahead of the 2006
campaign, with the Yamaha Motor Italia squad testing in Qatar and Yamaha Motor
France in Valencia.
Testing alongside Yamaha's MotoGP teams, the Yamaha Motor Italia squad proved
the performance and reliability of their new specification engine and fine-tuned
the updated Magneti Marelli electronics in their three-day outing at the Losail
circuit. The team's 2006 YZF-R1s feature a host of new parts over the 2005
version, designed to give the bike improved power delivery and controllability
for the riders. The squad also evaluated a number of chassis parts, including a
new swingarm and 2006 specification Ohlins suspension.
With Pirelli supplying only 2005-spec race rubber, the squad was able to
concentrate fully on the machine performance rather than testing development
tyres. Using these tyres, both riders were quicker on race tyres than at
December's Pirelli test, confirming the progress made by the team over the
winter months. Haga was the faster of the two riders, setting a 2:00.4, with
Pitt fractionally behind on 2:00.8. The Australian was slightly detuned on the
final day after picking up a stomach bug but gamely completed his test
programme, while Haga's day came to a premature end when he suffered a
spectacular highside just 30 minutes before the end of the session. The Japanese
rider was uninjured in the crash, although his bike suffered damage.
Over in Spain, Norick Abe spent two days at the Valencia circuit. Having tested
extensively at Phillip Island last month, the Japanese rider was back on the
Ohlins suspension which he will run in the 2006 season.
Abe was the sole Yamaha Motor France rider in attendance at Valencia. Shinichi
Nakatomi, who will run Japanese Soqi suspension, elected to miss the test having
twice tested his R1 at the circuit, while Sebastien Gimbert was also absent. The
Frenchman did not test as he will not race in Valencia due to a date clash with
the Le Mans 24-hour race.
Abe suffered some fueling glitches as the team tested new injection mappings and
he was also one of the few riders at the test not running development tyres. His
best of the day was a 1:36.4. Fastest at the test was Troy Bayliss (Ducati) with
a 1:34.4 lap.
"Not so bad a test although it was a shame to end with a crash. Going through
the last of the high-speed right hand corners I lost the rear and had a big
crash. I am ok but maybe I hurt in the morning! The new bike is a real
improvement although we are still trying to find the perfect settings. The
engine for sure is much nicer: less aggressive and stronger coming out of the
corners, and the team has made some improvements in all areas. At the end we
made some big changes to the front and, for me, it was a good direction. I am
happy with the progress made by the team, but we have not tested with our
rivals, so only at the first race will we know how competitive we are."
"I was happy with how it went over the three days. I feel some big improvements
from last year, especially with the electronics and the engine braking. We got
through a lot here and we're running the 2006 suspension front and back now and
it's working well already. The lap times are good and consistent and there was
none of the chatter problem that we have had here in the past, so that's also a
big step forward. There's a few more things to try before the race and I've
still got to find a front tyre that will work good over the race distance."
"Today we worked mainly on the injection system. We wanted to get a good setting
for this and then try for a good suspension setting. It was difficult to get a
good setting on the mapping and it is still not perfect. Because of this we
didn't get to try any new settings on the suspension."
Massimo Meregalli (Team Coordinator - Yamaha Motor Italia)
"We have been able to get through a lot of work over the last few days. Often at
these first tests we face a lot of small problems but other than a few minor
electrical things on the first morning these three days have been very good. The
team has been working hard over the winter and it has been good to hear the
riders' feedback confirm what we had seen on the dyno. We started trying a lot
of new parts yesterday and we lost our way a little bit with the set-up, but
today both riders found some good settings and were happy with the results. Of
course we tested many development tyres when we came in December and we do not
know yet which other tyres Pirelli will bring for the race, but we are happy
with our settings on the ones we had here. Our times have been under what the
tyre technicians predicted so this is a positive sign for the first race."