Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser (both Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team) made their final pre-race preparations for the 2008 World Superbike season at the Losail International Circuit today; the same venue that serves as the championship kick off on Saturday 23 February.
The Losail track surface was not in as good condition as it was for the team's previous winter test around the 5.380km circuit in Qatar, but the main objective of this showing was to ensure that all the latest equipment would be in prime condition when points become available for real next week.
The team brought four all-new machines and all of the latest specification, but as this was not an official test the riders had to use a more limited stock of tyres than usual.
Corser was second fastest rider of all on the final day, posting a 1'59.0, with Haga only marginally behind with a time of 1'59.3.
Shinichi Nakatomi (Team YZF Yamaha) was also out testing in preparation for the start of the year, running his latest spec of Yamaha YZF-R1 machine in his one-man team. He set a best of 2'00.7, on off-the-shelf Pirelli control tyres. Yamaha's second French WSB team GMT94 did not attend this last pre-season test.
Troy Corser (2nd - 1'59.0 - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team), "We tried a few new things with the variable intake settings for example, but only a little bit at this test. That said, we still found a lot of positive stuff over the past two days. It was mostly a shakedown test, with a bit of back-to-back comparison of the different bikes and I feel really confident with our starting package for this coming season. The only downside was that I felt a bit feverish this afternoon, aching a bit, like am catching the "flu, so it wasn't that much fun on the bike sometimes. The results were still good, so I'm confident in the bike and team. With what we found today, I would be happy to go and start the championship tomorrow."
Noriyuki Haga (3rd - 1'59.3 - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team), "It has been good to test so close to the start of the season and things went well with the bike. We only really had one type of tyre to test so we had to make changes in our suspension settings to be able to work with them. We found a setting that worked, which shows that we know how to adjust the bike in a good way. We will see how we get on during the race weekends but my long run this morning went well. I think when we get the real race tyres, we will be ready to go."
Massimo Meregalli (Team Coordinator, Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team), "Things went well, a positive test for us all. We arrived here with four completely new bikes, so the first day was spent mostly running things in and checking the bikes over. On the final day we did some long runs and in the end we were quite satisfied with the performance of both riders and the bikes. We used tyres that we didn't use in the previous Qatar tests as well. The times were not as good as they were in November but the track conditions at this circuit are quite changeable. The important thing was to make our final preparations and I can say that we are ready to race now."