There was an extra guest amongst the media journalists present for the 2008 Factory Media Test at the Parkalgar circuit in Portimao last Monday. Former Formula One star and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was invited to put on his leathers and join the invited journalists testing out the 2008 Yamaha WSB YZF-R1 machines of Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser at the all new Portugese circuit.
Schumacher is no stranger to superbikes having completed his first year in the German Superbike Championship (IDM). He spent the morning lapping the circuit on Haga's bike before switching to Corser's for a comparison run. Whilst the session's where not timed it was clear the F1 driving instincts had transferred well to bikes as he showed respectable pace and clean racing lines through the complicated and technical track.
The Yamaha Motor Italia Team were very impressed with his technical communication as he came in to debrief. His ability to communicate the feedback from the bike to help modify his personal set up was reported to be excellent. He also showed a keen understanding of the individual bike components and their effects on the ride. He was then able to make small changes with the crew to develop and improve his feel for the bikes through the session. The team were delighted to have him ride with them.