2009 Yamaha WSB riders Ben Spies and Tom Sykes enjoyed a successful two day test at Portimao with their new team. The riders used the time to develop both their relationships with their new team and also to make a start on the development of the all-new 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 race bike.
Day one of testing was spent mostly riding the 2008 WSB machines, giving both riders the opportunity to learn the highly technical Portimao circuit which opened for the first time last weekend for the last round of the 2008 World Superbike Championship.
Day two saw the riders lapping on the all-new for 2009 Yamaha WSB R1.
The new 998cc bike, featuring a high tech powerplant closely linked to the M1 MOTOGP bike, is currently at the very beginning of its development for the 2009 WSB season and is still relatively close to production specifications. However with the 2009 production R1 crossplane crankshaft engine and a unique uneven firing order giving linear torque and greater traction rider Ben Spies was able to come within two tenths of the race lap record set by Troy Bayliss during the inaugural race weekend two days previously. In a validation of the team's belief in the potential of the new bike both riders put in fast lap times, Ben Spies lapping consistently in the low 1.44s on the second day.
The Yamaha WSB team now move on to South Africa for the second test to take the next steps in the development of the bike.
So far the team's minor modifications to the standard bike include a modified cam-shaft, an enlarged radiator for extra cooling and the addition of an oil cooler. The new bike has no rear sub-frame but incorporates a strengthened frame. The exhaust is unique, and was developed in partnership with Akrapovic. The standard fuel tank has also been replaced with an aluminium tank with increased capacity. The bike features the latest Magneti Marelli electronic systems. The new swing arm is also developed purely for the WSB race bike based on knowledge taken from the 2008 racing season.