WSBK – WSBK: teams, drivers and challenges for the 2011 season – Yamaha: two R1s and two new foals

WSBK: teams, drivers and challenges for the 2011 season

WSBK - WSBK: teams, drivers and challenges for the 2011 season - Yamaha: two R1s and two new foals

Once again this year, Site will follow the exploits, setbacks, fights and victories of the World Superbike for you. The 2011 season begins February 26 in Australia, but let’s take advantage of the official tests in Portimao to make the presentations !

Yamaha: two R1s and two new foals

Succeeding Ben Spies within the official Yamaha team in 2010 was no easy task … And yet Cal Crutchlow, then reigning Supersport world champion, did very well! Admittedly, the English did not manage to repeat the exploits of the American: 11 poles, 17 podiums, 14 victories and the title in the first year…

But on the strength of his six poles, ten podiums, three victories and his fifth place in the championship – best rookie, therefore – Cal was offered a place in the French Moto GP team Tech3. For his part, James Toseland was a major disappointment: two second and two third places … A very meager booty for the double world champion SBK.

This is how Yamaha finds itself, for the third consecutive year, offering its R1 to two new recruits: Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty !

The first, a well-known Grand Prix star, will try to bounce back after two rather disjointed seasons in Moto GP. Courageous, remarkable and noticed within the Kawasaki Hayate team in 2009, the Ravenna Hedgehog was only a shadow of himself when he returned to Gresini in 2010…

For Marco, 2011 therefore appears to be a pivotal year in his career, crowned with a GP 250 title in 2002 and a second place overall in the Moto GP in 2005. In order to negotiate this turn as well as possible, the n ° 33 was had surgery shortly before Christmas on a shoulder that had been injured and became sensitive again after the Phillip Island tests.

Operated by the same specialist as Valentino Rossi himself, Marco had to be operational for the tests which are taking place at the moment in Portimao. The lap times will give an idea of ​​the level of competitiveness of the first Yamaha rider….

But this year again at Yam ‘, the best performances could be achieved by the "second"! From the first tests, Eugene Laverty was at the top of the timesheets, well helped, it must be remembered, by the use of soft gums shortly before the arrival of an Australian downpour (read and).

Vice-world champion of SSP in 2009 and 2010, "Youdjin" is undeniably one of the best drivers of the moment: his 18 podiums including twelve victories obtained in 27 races contested over the last two years attest to this. In addition, his particularly generous style on the track and his sense of fun off the road should cause a sensation in Superbike..

"I know we can win races next year", considers the young Irishman (from the North),"but I remain realistic and aim for the Top 6 in the championship. I think my biggest rivals will be Biaggi, Checa, JR (Jonathan Rea, NDLR), Haslam and my teammate Marco".

Main difficulty for the elf n ° 58 – he had to give "his" n ° 50 to Guintoli but does not despair of recovering it: "my brain still sometimes gets stuck in 600 cc mode", he confessed just before leaving for Portimao at the beginning of the week.

"At the moment I have to constantly remind myself when I get on the bike that it will go faster, and I know that after a few days my "600" mentality will be gone for good."Laverty continues. Once" mode 1000 "is engaged, who knows what Eugene will be capable of … Watch out for !

The Yamaha team

Yamaha World Superbike Team

  • Marco Melandri # 33

  • Eugene Laverty # 58

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