Yamaha's officially supported Superbike and Supersport World Championship teams completed their three-day test at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia today, with good weather conditions combining with two days of development work to allow the riders to push their machines to the limit and chase ultimate lap times.
Yamaha Motor Italia's superbike riders Noriyuki Haga and Andrew Pitt spent the day fine tuning their YZF-R1. Both saw their times drop from the previous two days testing, but more importantly both were able to complete their scheduled programmes of parts evaluation that will be used to build the final specification machines in time for next month's opening race in Qatar.
Scorching air temperatures of around 30 degrees and a track temperature in excess of 50 caused the tyre technicians some problems during the day, but with the riders dialed into their machines after two previous days' testing lap times were still able to drop for Haga and Pitt.
Pitt ended the test as the fastest of Yamaha Motor Italia's superbike riders, setting an ultimate best lap time of 1'33.9. More significantly he was able to lap consistently in the 1'35 bracket despite the extreme weather conditions.
Haga left the test a little slower than his colleague, but had a greater understanding of the YZF-R1 after his first three days on the bike. Haga's best time of the test, also set today, was a 1'35.0. The Yamaha Motor Italia team is now heading back to Europe with a huge database of information about their new machines. Within the next few days they will decide whether to spend the three weeks leading up to the official pre-season tests in Qatar developing the machines at their Milan headquarters or to carry out further track testing at the Valencia circuit in Spain.
In supersport, Yamaha Motor Germany's Broc Parkes left Phillip Island feeling confident after three days on his YZF-R6. With the new R6 featuring completely new suspension, that was the area of development that the young Australian and his team concentrated most of their time working on. Parkes' best time was a 1'37.6, marginally slower than his team-mate Kevin Curtain. Curtain elected to sit out of today's testing after breaking his collarbone yesterday. His best time from the test was a 1'37.2 on the first day.
Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia World Superbike Team YZF-R1)
"From the first day to the last we've made a lot of progress here at Phillip Island. Based on how well we went in Valencia, I think that we came here believing that we were a little bit further ahead than we actually were, although in the end everything has worked out fine. Sure we can go a little bit faster through improvements to the front end but even in these hot conditions I was able to consistently keep it in the low 35s on a race tyre."
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia World Superbike Team YZF-R1)
"Again we learned more about the bike today. The 1000cc four-cylinder is very fast of course, but we have also just started working with the bike so there is a lot of learning to do. For sure this is the challenge for us. The bike has a lot of potential but we must still make some small changes to get it just right. We need more testing and development before we are able to win, but I am sure we can do it!"
Massimo Meregalli (Team Coordinator - Yamaha Motor Italia World Superbike Team)
"Today was very hot with track temperatures of 50 degrees, which caused us some problems with grip today. Fortunately we do not expect it to be as hot when we return here for the race, or even at the first round in Qatar. We have had no crashes or mechanical failures here and now we know the direction to take with development of the bike, so it has been worthwhile for us to come here."
Broc Parkes (Yamaha Motor Germany World Supersport Team YZF-R6)
"We've got the suspension working much better now and we were able to put in a lot of laps today. The lap times haven't improved much from the first day but the feeling is better and I'm a lot more comfortable on the bike now."
Terrell Thien (Team Manager Yamaha Motor Germany World Supersport Team)
"Other than Kevin's injury it's been a worthwhile test. He did consider riding but it is too big a risk and it is better he concentrates on the first race. We've been able to get a good understanding of both the bike and Broc. Our main focus has been suspension, as this is all new on the 2005 R6 but we've been able to try a lot of other things. We tried a new slipper clutch, which worked perfectly, our engines seem strong and we have found two front tyres which work well with the bike."