Press Release
(2005 FIM Superbike World Championship)
YRC News
Superbike World Championship preview - round three: Spain


Track length: 4005m
Year opened: 1999
Superbike lap record: 1'35.007 (Neil Hodgson, 2003)
Last year's winners: James Toseland and Noriyuki Haga (both Ducati)
Circuit web site:

The Superbike and Supersport World Championship protagonists are on familiar
territory this weekend as the series heads to Europe and the Ricardo Tormo
circuit near Valencia for round three of the 2005 series.

The Valencian circuit is a popular test venue for all the teams competing in the
championships, none more so than the Yamaha Motor Italia squad, who had their
first shakedown tests with the YZF-R1 superbike at the same venue a little more
than five months ago. With just two superbike rounds under their belts, the
Yamaha Motor Europe supported squad and their counterparts at Yamaha Motor
France have shown the speed to match their rivals - and are hoping that
familiarity with the Valencia circuit will allow them to challenge over race
distance, the one element which has been missing in the opening rounds.
Consistency has been the key to the Norick Abe's sixth place in the
championship. The Yamaha Motor France rider has finished top 10 in every race so
far, taking him to sixth overall and giving him the unofficial honour of being
the top R1 rider. Australian rider Andrew Pitt lies seventh in the championship
after two rounds, unlucky not to be higher after crashing out of a potential
podium place as the rain came last time out in Phillip Island. Pitt was not the
only victim of the Australian rain, team-mate Noriyuki Haga was one of many
high-profile victims to go down and his double DNF puts him down in an
uncharacteristically low 11th place in the championship.

"Phillip Island was really tough for me and I was really beaten up after my
crashes," said Pitt. "I really wanted a good result in front of my home crowd
but that's life and we can only look to Valencia. It's a circuit that we know
well and I have done so many laps around here on the R1 but it is a strange
circuit because the grip levels are constantly changing. The bike is improving
every time I ride it and although we know that this is a development period for
the bike we are all racers. At the end of the day me, the team and everyone at
Yamaha wants good results - so our objective is to get podiums and race wins
when we get to the race track."

Haga added: "Phillip Island was a disaster for me but I am looking forward to
racing at Valencia. Still I am trying to find the right feeling with the R1 but
when we tested at Valencia last month we made big progress with the front end,
which allowed me to go much faster in the last session. This has been a good
circuit for me in the past. I won here on the R7 in 2000 and again last year on
the Ducati, so I know that if I get a good feeling with the bike I can get a
good result this weekend."

Ricardo Tormo circuit

Although the Valencia circuit is well known by all the teams due to the vast
number of laps they complete in testing, the Iberian venue still retains an air
of mystery due to the ever changing grip levels that can leave even the best
tyre and suspension technicians tearing their hair out in frustration.

It is not uncommon for riders to hit upon the perfect set-up and tyre choice in
one practice session, only to struggle to make the same lap times the next. It
is now commonly accepted that the track is unusually slippery - a feature which
is compounded by drifting dust and sand carried on the ever constant sea breeze
and through rubber left by the many Formula One teams that often use the
facility for wet weather tyre testing.

The circuit itself has been designed for spectator viewing in mind, which leads
to a compact layout with many stop-and-go 90-degree corners that put the
emphasis on front-end confidence.

Having tested extensively at the venue, including the official two-day test in
March, the Yamaha teams go to Spain with good base settings. For the Yamaha
Motor Europe-supported Yamaha Motor Italia squad, the team's key development
areas - front end settings and improved engine mapping - will be critical for a
good result. Confidence in the front end, along and a linear power delivery are
vital at such a stop-start circuit. With so many hard braking zones, stability
under braking will be the key - while the software engineers will have their
work cut out to ensure the multi-adjustable engine management system provides a
soft power delivery and good drive out of the slow-speed corners.

Supersport World Championship

Having scored Yamaha's first podium of the year at the last round in Australia,
Kevin Curtain and the Yamaha Motor Germany squad return to Valencia filled with

Curtain moved up to third in the championship after pushing eventual winner
Sebastien Charpentier all the way in Phillip Island, while team-mate Broc Parkes
fought bravely through the pain barrier to finish seventh after crashing in

With the squad still learning about the radically revised suspension on the
2005-model YZF-R6, Curtain and Parkes are optimistic that they can challenge for
victory after a strong test at Valencia last month. "The suspension on the 2005
R6 is very different to last year's bike," said Yamaha Motor Germany team
manager Terrell Thien. "We made a big step forward both in the test in Valencia
and also in Australia. We still have a few more things to try which gives hope
that we can match the Hondas in Valencia.

This weekend also sees the opening round of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. R1
riders dominated the championship last year, taking the top four places. For
2005 Yamaha will again be represented by Yamaha Motor Germany riders Didier van
Keymeulen and Kenan Sofuoglu. Last year's championship winning team, Lorenzini
by Leoni, will contest the series with highly-rated Italian Massimo Roccoli.