Press Release
(2005 FIM Superbike World Championship)
YRC News
Superbike World Championship preview - round five: United Kingdom


The Superbike World Championship moves from one famous Formula One circuit to
another this weekend, with round five of the series taking place at Silverstone
in the United Kingdom.

From the cozy parklands of Monza the circus crosses the English channel to the
vast and often bleak former aerodrome that is the self proclaimed 'Home of
British Motorsport'. Yamaha Motor Italia riders Andrew Pitt and Noriyuki Haga go
into the race lying fifth and ninth in the championship in the YZF-R1's first
year of world superbike competition. The team made good progress last time out
in Italy and are looking to continue that trend in the UK. With a new
specification engine due to arrive in a few rounds' time, the team will again
focus its attentions to refining the R1's chassis settings at Silverstone and
working their way towards the podium placings at a circuit that has served them
well in the past. In three outings, the Yamaha Motor Italia team twice won the
supersport race at this venue.

"Every race we're learning more about the bike and improving bit by bit in all
areas," commented Andrew Pitt. "Monza showed what good progress we've made: our
straight line speed was good and we're managing to make our tyres last much
better than at the start of the season. We always knew that the first half of
the season would be about development work and racking up consistent finishes
which is exactly what we have done so far. I was able to run with the leading
group for much of the race in Monza so I think we can go to Silverstone
confident of doing well."

While Pitt has started to feel at home on the R1, team-mate Haga admits his
legions of fans have yet to see the best of him and the Yamaha. Nonetheless the
Japanese ace remains upbeat, commenting: "I had two good races at Silverstone
last year so I hope that this is a good sign. So far I have not been able to get
the right feeling with the bike. Still we are working very hard and I think that
we can make big improvements. Last year I won three out of the four races in
Britain and I always like to ride in front of the British fans. I know that I
will have a big support at Silverstone and I want to give them something to
cheer. So far this year I have only been Normal Nori... but I want to be Nitro
Nori again!"

Making their Silverstone debuts are the Yamaha Motor France pairing of Norick
Abe and Sebastien Gimbert who currently lie eighth and 14th in the championship.
This will be the second circuit of the season of which Abe has no previous
knowledge, but the Japanese rider hopes that his Monza outing, where he
experienced set-up problems, will not be repeated.

"At Monza we made progress in every session but the set-up changes for the
second race and they just did not work at all," he said. "Silverstone is a
circuit which I do not know at all so it is important that I do not repeat the
same thing there."

Added the world superbike calendar for the first time in 2002, the bikes will
this year run on the shorter 3.6km International circuit instead of the 5km GP
circuit used in previous years.

This is the configuration used in the popular British Superbike Championship.
The shorter layout provide the fans with more action, the International circuit
also features two added overtaking opportunities: under braking, where the GP
track turns right onto the International configuration at Becketts and also at
the tight Abbey section where the bike course rejoins the Formula One circuit.

Although the latest incarnation of Silverstone lacks much of the character and
atmosphere it had 25 years ago thanks mainly to the large gravel traps
separating the fans from the racetrack, spectator facilities are good and the
wide tarmac and long straights generally promote good racing. Turn one, Copse,
is a fearsome fourth gear corner that is one of the toughest tests of man and
machine on the calendar, while the extremely slow chicane at the end of the lap
is not so popular with the riders but a guaranteed action spot as the riders
plan last gasp maneuvers.

Silverstone is a circuit with long straights and a wide variety of corners,
although the change to the short circuit will see the fastest section of the
track, Hangar Straight, bypassed. The track is also extremely bumpy, a legacy of
the Formula One cars which regularly test here, and it is this that makes a good
bike set-up so difficult to find.

These bumps cause chassis settings to be compromised. Ideally riders would like
to run high compression damping and spring ratings to cope with the high
G-forces generated on the fast corners like Copse and Abbey. But the stiffer
suspension will not be able to absorb the bumps, so a softer compromise will
have to be found.

Riders will also have to look out for the suspension being upset by camber
changes where the various layout configurations cross over, while wet weather -
always a possibility in the UK - will make the surface extremely slippery.

Supersport World Championship

After struggling to get to grips with the 2005 YZF-R6 in the opening few rounds,
Yamaha Motor Germany pairing Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes made good progress
with suspension settings last time out in Monza. Silverstone, in the guise of
the previously used GP circuit, has proved ideally suited to the R6 in the past
with two wins, from Jamie Whitham in 2001 and Fabien Foret last year, one pole
position and the outright fastest lap around the circuit. The team's Kevin
Curtain is currently third in the championship and a fan of Silverstone while
new team-mate Broc Parkes, joint fifth in the order, finished third here last
year - missing out on the win by just fractions of a second.

FIM Superstock 1000 Cup

Yamaha YZF-R1 riders go to Silverstone holding the top three placings in the
inaugural FIM Superstock 1000 Cup for young riders equipped with virtually
standard machines. Turkish 20-year-old Kenan Sofuoglu has won both the opening
rounds and is keen to conquer the only circuit at which he failed to score
points during he 2004 European Superstock Championship. Massimo Roccoli is a
Silverstone rookie, but podium finishes in the opening two rounds suggest that
he will be a threat in the UK, while Sofuoglu's Yamaha Motor Germany team-mate
Didier van Keymeulen could be the man to beat this weekend. The Belgian lies
third in the points standings but is a real circuit specialist. He grabbed pole
at Silverstone last year but crashed while leading. This year he is looking for
his first win in the class after recording four podium finishes on the R1.