Gianatsis, Editorial Director
Babes Builders Riders Racing News
Yamaha's first 2004 preseason test at Sepang
"We did some good work," he said. "The time we made was good for a first test, but tyres and chassis settings were the main aim here. I've really enjoyed my first three days with Yamaha, I'm very happy. There's still work to do on the engine and we'll carry on with that, but overall things have been good."
The World Champion's
Crew Chief Jerry Burgess was quietly satisfied with events. "I
guess we're doing okay," he said. "We've achieved enough
for a fast time and we were running according to the Michelin test
programme. Things have been very harmonious in terms of integration
with Yamaha and now we'll go away and work on whatever the Yamaha
Development Group have got for us."
"The bike feels better with the 16.5-inch front tyre," said the hard-charging Spaniard who tried both 17-inch and 16.5-inch fronts. "The race endurance test was not so bad, and this was only the first test of the season. Of course we've got more to do but we have all we need to achieve results."
Checa's Crew Chief Antonio Jimenez was content with the three days work at this early stage of the testing programme. "The race simulation distance test provided valuable information for us," he said. "We were focussed on that and this is just the beginning of our programme."
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio was frank about his surprise at the rapid progress made here at Sepang. "I didn't honestly expect we'd be at his level so soon," he said. But the Italian expressed caution too. "All our competitors will work hard this winter too, but this is a good first test to motivate everyone in the team and everyone from Yamaha."
Marco Melandri (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 Team) rode 52 laps and put in a best time of 2m 05.55 seconds. "Better than yesterday," said the tough Italian, still sore from recent shoulder surgery. "In the end the bike was okay but I took time to adjust to the 16.5-inch front tyre I tried today. At the moment my mind is strong but not my body."
Norick Abe (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 Team) couldn't quite make the most of a selection of Michelin tyres that suited his style well. "That was a bit so-so," said the experienced Japanese rider. "We're still not quite there with the settings, but we have not worked together before as a team. Even so I couldn't get the time I felt the tyres were capable of." Abe rode 52 laps with a best lap of 2m 05.05 seconds.
Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 Team Director Herve Poncharal believes his newly formed team benefited greatly from this Yamaha-only test. "We needed this first test to establish communication with new riders. For Marco this is his first ride since Phillip Island last year and he's not 100% fit yet. The 16.5-inch front tyre is helping him and we weren't here for lap times anyway - that's not an excuse - it's a fact. Norick is more of a racer than a tester and he looks very motivated. As the team begins to understand his needs more, we can expect more from him too."
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Josh Hayes to Attack AMA Superbike on Kawasaki ZX-10R
Jan 22nd - Thinks are really starting to brighten up for Superbike fans this year with the announcement that Josh Hayes will finally get his chance to race the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship as the lone Kawasaki entry aboard the Attack Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Josh won the closest of all AMA road racing series last season in Superstock and it came down to the final laps of the last round at Barber Motorsports Park. Hayes beat out factory Kawasaki rival Tommy Hayden, who rode the nimble handling Kawasaki ZX636 Superstock special. After finally breaking through and winning his first AMA title Hayes sees Superbike as the logical next step in his career. 28-year-old Josh hails from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, home of such other noteable sportbike heros as our own FastDates.com editor Jim Gianatsis.
has always been the goal,” Hayes says. “I always said
I wouldn’t want to go to Superbike unless it was a factory ride,
but I really believe in the Attack team. I think Richard (Stanboli)
can build a competitive Superbike team. Kawasaki is behind us and
I think they’ll be even more so if we start having good results.”
Stanboli envisions becoming Kawasaki’s factory representative like Rob Muzzy was in the past, but he adds he’s pretty sure the factory will come back to the championship in 2005. Attack is not a newcomer to AMA Superbike racing. The company was formed in 1990 and first entered Superbike racing in 1994 with Paul Harrell on a Yamaha YZF750.
A former champ
in WERA, Hayes made his AMA debut in 1998 on a Valvoline EMGO Suzuki
in Formula Xtreme. He shocked the racing establishment when he won
the AMA 750 Supersport race at Daytona in 1999. Josh has remained
a leading class contender each season, later joining the Bruce Transportation
Honda support team, but crash injuries and resulting missed races
plauged him more than any other front runner and it would be a long
four years before he finally scored his second AMA victory. That came
in the Superstock race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last year.
The Attack Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike willl debute at Daytona in March with the start of the 2004 AMA Superbike Championship. “Hey, we’re the underdog team and I like that. I think I can at least be very consistent in the race. Hopefully we’ll catch a little luck and you never know.”