Yamaha World Superbike riders Ben Spies and Tom Sykes took to the Misano circuit for the first time today in what was without a doubt the hottest riding day so far of the 2009 championship. With temperatures approaching 40 degrees Spies got straight down to business on the unknown circuit, spending a large part of both the free practice and the first qualifying session running at the top of the time chart. He ended Friday’s qualifying session in second position less than one tenth of a second off leader Michel Fabrizio having spent the entire qualifying session working on race pace on a single set of tyres.
Team-mate Tom Sykes continued to improve his set-up from previous races and although ending the day in 19th position his times we less than seven tenths off his team-mate’s time as he searched for the optimum setting for the Misano circuit. The British rider lost valuable time in the morning free practice session fixing an issue with the bike but looked to be making it up quickly in the afternoon qualifying and was confident of more improvements for day two.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team (2nd, 1’37.102)
“It was a good first day for us, the second session we opted to run race set up and we never put any new tyres on. A race is 22 laps around here, on the 22nd lap today we were half a second off the fastest lap done here. I’m pleased with that and we ran our whole race simulation in the 37’s. I’m ecstatic about the bike and tomorrow if it stays dry we know we’ve got a good package. We know if we put sticky tyres on it’s definitely going to go fast. If it rains, I guess we get some good rain time and go play in the rain. It’s still tough for us coming and learning these new tracks so I’m glad we picked it up as quickly as we did. There is still some more settings to find to be more comfortable but the speed is there. If it is wet then I hope we’ll be up there too, I don’t have as much time on this bike in the wet but I like riding in the rain.”
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (19th, 1’37.992)
“I think today we’ve made big improvements, this morning we lost a bit of track time with a couple of things but this afternoon we went from a high 39 to a 37.9 so we’ve found two seconds. I’m only eight or nine tenths of the front guys which is not a lot and considering it’s my first time here it’s not bad. We can still make improvements over the weekend and hopefully we’ll make it work and see what tomorrow brings.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“We started in the right way today, we are already close to the top of the times. Ben led part of both sessions which gives us a lot of confidence for Sunday. We have to solve some issues for Tom around the front end feel of the bike and also we have to wait and see what the weather is going to do as its forecast for some rain. If it’s raining it might be a good opportunity as we’ve not tested in the rain yet and I’m confident we can get good results.”