• Welcome to the new B.I.R.D. Forum. Please be sure to read the "New Member / New Registered ? Please Read" thread in the Coffee Shop. This contains some important information. To become a full member ( £5.50 a year ) simply click on your user name near the top on the right I hope you enjoy the new site ................ Jaws ( John )

WSBK news


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BMW Motorrad Italia enters Superbike World Championship.
The winning team of the 2010 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup will debut with riders Ayrton Badovini and James Toseland.

Munich/San Donato Milanese, 28th October 2010. BMW Motorrad has announced the entry of Team BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike in the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship. The team will debut with riders Ayrton Badovini (ITA) and James Toseland (GBR) and will receive technical support from the BMW Motorrad Motorsport factory team, which is providing engines and electronics for the BMW S 1000 RR. The team will be led by Andrea Buzzoni, Director of BMW Motorrad Italia and Manager of the Superbike project;Serafino Foti, who will serve as Sporting Director; and Gerardo Acocella as Technical Director.

In 2010, BMW Motorrad Italia made its debut in international competition and won both the riders? and constructors? titles in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, with Ayrton Badovini as lead rider for the team. The Italian squad will also continue in this series with Lorenzo Zanetti (ITA).

?BMW has it in its DNA to constantly seek maximum performance and innovative solutions, comparisons and teamwork, respect and trust, as well as a clear strategic orientation towards the objective,? says Christian Kremer, CEO of BMW Group Italia. ?We will be entering the FIM Superbike World Championship with the same professionalism and enthusiasm demonstrated to date; and we are sure that this effort will lead to new and important results.?

?From next season, our BMW Motorrad Motorsport factory team will be joined in the FIM Superbike World Championship by a factory-supported BMW line-up in the shape of the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK team. The team has experience in motor racing ? and in this championship specifically,? says Hendrik von Kuenheim, General Director BMW Motorrad. ?Last year in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, BMW Motorrad Italia demonstrated their ability to achieve success with the BMW S 1000 RR in impressive fashion. Although the challenge in the Superbike World Championship is that much tougher, I?m convinced that BMW Motorrad will benefit from this new addition to the field. After all, competition is the lifeblood of business. We would like to wish the team every success.?

?After winning the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, we are continuing with a renewed challenge in the sporting arena,? adds Andrea Buzzoni. ?We planned this ambitious project with enthusiasm and determination and we are happy to find the same enthusiasm in BMW AG?s top management. Our Italian squad will receive technical support from Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport. The collaboration between the two teams will allow a profitable exchange of experience, know-how, solutions and ideas for development, all with the common objective of constantly improving performance. We are delighted to be able to assure Ayrton, who has given us such satisfaction in our racing competition debut, a well-deserved promotion. Ayrton will be riding alongside two-time world champion James Toseland, who has shown great motivation and enthusiasm for the project.?


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Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager Announcement
After several years as team manager for the Yamaha Motor Italia Supersport Team and then manager for the World Superbike Team from 2005 to 2010, Massimo Meregalli will now move across to join the Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team in 2011 in a management role. Joining the WSB team for 2010 to replace him will be current Moto2 team manager and fellow Italian Andrea Dosoli.

Massimo Meregalli?s career with the World Superbike Team reached a high in 2009, securing the World Championship title with American rider Ben Spies. Over the five year tenure under Massimo?s management the WSB team achieved an impressive 24 Superpoles, 104 podiums and 33 race wins with riders including Spies, Noriyuki Haga, Troy Corser, Cal Crutchlow, Andrew Pitt and James Toseland. The team also secured the World Superbike Constructors? Championship in 2008 for Yamaha.

38yr old Andrea Dosoli brings a wealth of road racing experience to his new role with the team, having been chief mechanic, responsible for data acquisition, MotoGP team manager and Moto2 team manager/co-owner for the duration of the 2010 season. Andrea will take on the responsibility of team management with the Yamaha World Superbike Team from the 10th of November 2010.

Yamaha Motor Europe wishes to express thanks and appreciation for Massimo?s loyalty, dedication and hard work with the World Superbike Team and wish him all the best in his new role with the factory MotoGP team next season.


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2011 WSB Rider Eugene Laverty Visits The Yamaha World Superbike Team Workshop

2011 Yamaha World Superbike Team rider Eugene Laverty today visited the team?s workshops at Germo di Lesmo in Italy. Having completed his first test on the bike following the final round of the 2010 championship at Magny Cours, Laverty had the opportunity to see firsthand the mechanics in the workshops making the adjustments of the bike from the data gained at his first test and get a first impression of the 2011 YZF-R1 racebike he will ride to challenge for the title next year. There was also a chance to meet some of the team members not usually present at the race weekends and get a deeper insight into the team?s base.

The team?s workshops are just a stone?s throw from the Monza circuit and sit next to the Yamaha factory MotoGP team?s workshop. Frankie Carchedi, Laverty?s crew chief for the 2011 season was also present, both enjoying the chance to discuss changes to the bike?s settings in advance of their one day test in Valencia next week and following test at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia at the end of the month. Laverty joins the team for the next year having completed two successful years in World Supersport, taking second in the championship after taking the fight to the last race in both seasons.

?It was nice to spend the day at the workshop and meet the guys who don?t always come to the race track,? said Eugene Laverty. ?We also studied some data with Frankie from the first test in Magny Cours and looked at where we can improve. It gave me some good information for me to understand what I need to do differently and work on at the next test. It has all been really positive and a great opportunity to do it away from the race track with no pressure. The workshops were really impressive and I got to see everything, you can it?s very well organised. I?m really looking to getting on the 2011 racebike for the first time next week at Valencia and then Phillip Island at the end of the month to get cracking again!?


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Melandri and Laverty complete successful Valencia Superbike Test
Yamaha World Superbike 2011 team-mates Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty took to the track together for the first time today, taking part in a one day test at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. Despite strong winds both riders enjoyed a sunny dry track, enabling them to put both the 2010 and new 2011 racebike through its paces. The test was the first track outing for new Team Manager Andrea Dosoli, joining the team for 2011 in place of Massimo Meregalli who moves within the Yamaha family to work with the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team.

The session was Melandri?s first opportunity to ride the Yamaha YZF-R1 and also his first day working with his new team. Riding on the Pirelli tyres for the first time, the Italian adapted quickly, spending the majority of the day on the 2010 bike to get acquainted with the R1 and give the team time to make basic set up changes to fit his physical shape on the bike. He impressed the team, settling in quickly to set an impressive fastest lap time on a qualifier tyre, only two tenths of a second off times from the previous day?s MotoGP test.

Melandri?s new team-mate Eugene Laverty got straight down to business today. Having already experienced the powerful 2010 R1 at the Mangy Cours Official World Superbike Test three weeks ago he took the opportunity to spend some time not just on the 2010 bike but also on the new 2011 YZF-R1 racebike, providing valuable data for the team in preparation of the upcoming test at Phillip Island in Australia at the beginning of December.

The new YZF-R1 follows a design philosophy of reduced weight and optimal weight balance for greater traction. The bike tested today also featured the new for 2011 Ohlins front forks, tested by both riders. The bike adheres to the 2011 FIM regulations for the championship, featuring standard fuel injectors, fuel pump and fuel regulators.

Marco Melandri, Yamaha World Superbike Team (1?33.9, 79laps)
?It was a very good first day. In the beginning it was a completely different feeling to a MotoGP bike, much bigger! Lap by lap the feeling got better and better and I really enjoyed it. I was riding smoothly and I was especially happy with the Pirelli tyres, I got a really good feeling for the bike with them. I love the engine, it was impressive so I am very excited to go to Australia and carry on.?
Eugene laverty, Yamaha World Superbike Team (1?34.9, 76laps)
?I?m feeling really comfortable with the bike. At Magny Cours I didn?t want to judge too much by one track, Valencia is very different so to feel good here as well is very positive. I rode the 2011 bike and we managed to gather a lot of really useful data to help prepare for the next test at Phillip Island. I?m feeling really positive, I think we?re heading in the right direction to have a very competitive bike for the new season.?

Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager -

?Today was good, it feels nice to be involved in such a professional environment, the team is working really well. I believe there is a good base here to achieve great results and have a good feeling with both the riders. I was a little worried about Marco?s first experience on a heavier bike with different tyres but I?m really happy that he had a good feeling and adapted quickly to the new tyres and bike, the lap time for him was not so bad either. Eugene has a lot of potential and is very motivated, he was working on different settings between the 2010 and 2011 bikes and was providing very clear feedback for the team to work with. We will go away now and use this information to prepare for the test in Australia in three weeks time.?


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Success in Australia test for Yamaha World Superbike Team
Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri completed their three day test at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia today. The two new signings for the 2011 season spent the three days testing out various parts including new Ohlins (TRVP25) front forks on both the 2010 and 2011 racebike. A large part of the test for both riders, particularly Melandri, included ongoing physical modifications to the YZF-R1 racebike to fit their riding style, adjusting foot pegs, handlebars and other geometry settings.

The team enjoyed good weather, sunshine and a dry track for the first two days of the test with rain only appearing in the last minutes of day two. The third and final day saw more sunshine with rain only at lunchtime and towards the end of the day?s sessions. The 2011 bike tested by the riders featured a revised weight balance, the new Ohlins forks, new engine performance parts and a different seat and fuel tank design. The bike also features standard fuel injectors and fuel pump in line with the 2011 racing regulations.

Eugene Laverty was clearly enjoying his third outing on the R1, having been impressively quick in the first two tests, he was again fast from the off, leaving Australia as the fastest rider of the test with a blistering 1?31.5 lap on soft race tyres at the end of day three, over half a second faster than closest rider Max Biaggi. He also spent some time on race simulation, putting in consistently fast race pace laps.

Following his one day test in Valencia last month this was Marco Melandri?s first proper opportunity to work through some set up developments on his new R1 racebike. The Italian rider improved steadily over the test days, making steps each day as the team continued to modify the physical set up of the bike to suit him. Day three saw him record a 1?32.4 lap on race tyres. Melandri also took the opportunity in the rain to experience his bike on Pirelli wet tyres. The team now have valuable data to take away to work over the winter to make further changes to suit the new riders in advance of the first test of 2011 next year.
Eugene Laverty, Yamaha World Superbike Team 232 laps, Best Lap 1?31.5
?I?m pretty pleased with the test, it?s a nice way to go into the winter break. In the three days we got a lot of laps done, the second day especially was big breakthrough. So far we?ve had two one day tests so the second day here was where we really made the bike mine. The race times on the 2011 machine weren?t so far away from 2010 bike so we?re developing in the right direction. The new Ohlins front fork is definitely an improvement. I?m still learning this bike so we are fine tuning it as we go.?

Marco Melandri, Yamaha World Superbike Team 216 laps, Best Lap 1?32.4
?It was a good test in the end, the three days were very intensive. It was quite challenging at first working on the 2011 machine but during the second day we started to find a way and then third day we found a big improvement and found a good pace for the race. The rain meant we couldn?t find a good lap time with a soft tyre but for me that wasn?t what was important here. The difference between a MotoGP bike and a superbike on this track are huge, the bike moves a lot more so the faster corners are very different but step by step it?s getting better and better. The feeling is very good, I?m very happy. The track is a difficult track so we have done well and I think we can be very strong for the first race here next year.?

Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
?These were three very important days for us, after the shakedown of the new bike in Valencia here we had the chance to work on it in more detail. We have confirmed that the new bike is pretty good with high potential. We are pleased that it can keep consistent lap times during race simulation. For this we are quite happy as on this track in the past we have struggled. Eugene was very fast from the beginning in all three days and had a good feeling working on both bikes. Marco has been working hard, mainly on the 2011 bike. He has been working on rider position; there are still some areas we have to improve for him to be more comfortable on the bike. He was very consistent with race pace although he didn?t have time to try a flying lap. After the first two days he struggled a bit with setup then today he found a good one that worked for him and was comfortable so the lap times improved. Overall the test was very positive and we are confident we have a good base for the Philip Island race.?

Eugene Laverty 01?31.5
Max Biaggi 01?32.1
Leon Camier 01?32.4
Marco Melandri 01?32.4


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Successful shoulder surgery for Melandri

Yamaha Factory World Superbike Team?s new recruit for the 2011 series, Marco Melandri, underwent minor and completely successful surgery on his right shoulder yesterday (Thursday 23rd December) and expects to be fully fit for the works squad?s next test at the Portimao circuit in Portugal on January 26th.

The 28 year old, a former Grand Prix 250 world champion, and a WSB rookie on the formidable YZF-R1 in 2011, has elected for a hospital visit and an overnight stay after some complaints around the joint possibly due to an old injury and in the wake of three days hard riding and testing recently.

After scans on Wednesday revealed some extra movement in the limb, the Italian opted for a clean-up procedure in order to reduce risk of further aggravation during his maiden term in World Superbike that is set to start at Phillip Island on February 27th. Dr Giuseppe Porcellini, the same specialist who worked on the shoulder of Valentino Rossi, performed the operation and the racer will leave his ward today (Friday). Dr Porcellini reported that there was no damage to ligaments therefore a straightforward ?tidying? took place and a ?staple? attached - that will erode naturally over time - will add extra stability.

Aside from requiring the use of a brace for two weeks the sole effect of Melandri?s trip to the operating theatre will be a slight interference with his ability to train 100% during the month of January but he expects to be fit and raring to go for his next appointment with the R1 in Portugal.


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The latest incarnation of an iconic team has returned to the World Superbike championship following today?s launch of the new Castrol Honda team, with the global lubricants brand announcing title sponsorship of Honda?s superbike effort for the upcoming 2011 title race.

The new team will feature riders Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus campaigning Honda?s CBR1000RR Fireblade, with the squad being run by the Netherlands-based Ten Kate Racing outfit, who have led Honda?s World Superbike effort since 2004.
Castrol?s association with Honda?s motorcycle racing activities goes all the way back to the Japanese manufacturer?s first foray into the sport at the Isle of Man TT in 1959 and the two companies celebrated 50 years of racing together in 2009.

While Castrol has maintained support of Honda?s annual World Superbike championship effort in recent years, its previous title sponsorship of the Castrol Honda team generated no fewer than three world titles, with John Kocinski in 1997 and then twice with fellow American rider Colin Edwards in 2000 and 2002.

For Jonathan Rea, 23, the new season, which opens on 27 February at Phillip Island in Australia, will be his third in the World Superbike championship. The Northern Irishman finished in fifth place in 2009, taking two wins, a tally which he doubled last season on his way to fourth place in the championship.

Ruben Xaus, meanwhile, first competed in the World Superbike championship in 1998 and finished as runner-up in 2003 before a two-year spell in MotoGP. The 32-year-old Catalan rider has 11 career wins to his name and a total of 35 podium finishes to date.

Donald Smith ? sponsorship manager, Global Marketing Unit, Castrol:

?Castrol are delighted to join Honda once again to see the return of the famous Castrol Honda World Superbike team to racetracks around the world. Motorcycle racing provides Castrol with the ultimate environment to test and develop our advanced Castrol Power One technology and the Castrol Honda World Superbike team provides a powerful and exciting platform to demonstrate the performance of our Castrol Power One products.?

Carlo Fiorani ? racing operations manager, Honda Motor Europe:

?We are absolutely thrilled that Castrol has shown this level of faith in Honda and its World Superbike championship team. We are really looking forward to the 2011 season and to achieving even more wins under this famous racing banner. It?s great to have an such an iconic motorsport brand as title sponsor for the team and, personally, I think the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR race machine looks absolutely fantastic!?

Ronald ten Kate ? manager, Castrol Honda World Superbike Team:

?When our world championship racing adventure was first beginning, many years ago now, Castrol Honda was the one team in the paddock which everyone looked up to, whose professional and performance standards we all wanted to achieve. It is an honour for us now to be racing under this famous and historically successful banner and we are privileged to be following in the footsteps of the team we admired so much in the past. You can be sure that everyone in the Ten Kate Racing organisation ? riders, mechanics, and all the workshop staff ? will give 100% commitment to this really exciting new phase of our World Superbike campaign.

Jonathan Rea - #4:

?One of my main inspirations for racing was watching Castrol Honda?s Colin Edwards battle Troy Bayliss for the World Superbike championship in that epic season in 2002. It?s a real honour for me to be racing under those same famous colours for the 2011 season and I?ll be trying my hardest to recreate what Colin did for the Castrol Honda team. I think the bike looks fantastic and I know the Ten Kate guys back at the workshop have been working really hard on its technical development since last season finished so now I just can?t wait to get started.?

Ruben Xaus - #111:

?After many years of racing at world championship level it is very nice and important for me to be part of a big project like the new Castrol Honda team. The biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world is joining together with one of the biggest lubricants companies in the world and supporting the Ten Kate team, which has had a lot of success with many world championship titles. All together it?s a big and really exciting mixture and I will give my talent and every effort to help Castrol and the Honda CBR1000RR become a regular winning partnership in the 2011 championship.?


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Cold start to winter testing for Castrol Honda
The Castrol Honda World Superbike Team was able to complete just a handful of laps at Motorland Aragon during a two-day pre-season test which concluded this afternoon.

The test was primarily arranged to give riders Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus an opportunity to ride the new Spanish circuit after they missed a World Superbike championship test at the 5.078km circuit last October.

However, rain yesterday morning precluded any testing until the afternoon and, with freezing conditions all day today, the riders and team decided not to test the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR machines any further.

Instead, the team packed up early to begin the journey to Portimao in Portugal for an official three-day test next Wednesday 26 January, where better conditions are expected.

Jonathan Rea - #4

It's been a frustrating couple of days really because after the rain yesterday morning it's been sunny, but it's been really, really cold. At least I got some laps in yesterday afternoon - maybe 30 or 40 - so I know which way the track goes and I was able to give some good feedback on gearing to my crew. It wasn't a complete waste of time - it's a really nice circuit and I enjoyed riding it but we were understandably a little way off where our rivals were when they had three days testing here last October. But when we come back in June, at least we won't be starting completely blind.

Ruben Xaus - #111

It was freezing! Much colder than when the team was launched in the UK earlier this week! Today, it was maximum 3? in the sun and always below zero in the shadows. And there are many shadows here, because the circuit has many hills. In fact, it was difficult to ride yesterday afternoon when the sun was very low because of all the shadows. The circuit is blind everywhere, but still very interesting. And the bikes looked amazing on track for the first time.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager

The wet and cold conditions really allowed us only yesterday afternoon to test and then it was -5? overnight with a really cold wind all day today. Of course, we were hoping for more laps, but we were happy to test at this new track for the championship and I'm sure that after the laps they did yesterday, the riders now know which way it goes. We got a little bit of information on the set-up we'll be looking for but we could certainly have used more. But it is what it is and we'll go to Portugal next week to test the bikes and new parts properly.


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Castrol Honda team frustrated by winter testing weather
The Castrol Honda World Superbike Team is heading back to its Netherlands workshop following another frustrating pre-season test at Portimao in Portugal.

Changeable weather conditions at the 4.6km circuit in the Algarve have meant the team?s two riders, Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus, have been unable to test new parts for their Castrol Honda CBR1000RR machines, with Wednesday being the only fully dry day of the test.
It follows two very cold days at Motorland Aragon in Spain last week, when it was low temperatures that prevented much testing work. Fortunately, the team is testing twice at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia before the 2011 World Superbike championship kicks off there on 27 February.

Jonathan Rea - #4

Yeah, it?s been good here at Portimao. We didn?t get the best testing weather ? we wanted dry days, really, to try and progress the bike. We had some new things to try and, to be honest, I think we got two sessions, but we were pretty much at the sharp end in both of them. In the wet we were really fast as well, so I?m really happy with where we are. I always worry that you might lose some speed or talent over the winter but it hasn?t been the case and we?ve reconfirmed that my wrist is perfect and my shoulder?s good. It?s exactly what I needed before I head off to Australia on Tuesday where my trainer?s meeting me to get some sunshine and get me properly prepared.

Ruben Xaus - #111

The weather?s been strange here ? rain then stop, rain then stop ? so it?s been difficult for us to work. It?s hard to concentrate and the conditions haven?t really been like a race weekend. But at least we got 50 or 60 dry laps so I?ve learned a lot from the bike and from the guys. They?ve taught me how to do some things and Johnny (Rea) also taught me some steps. Slowly, we made some progress and overall I?m quite satisfied because although conditions were very difficult here, I?ve seen something of the bike and I can go home, relax and think about where I need to put in the effort from my side. Despite all this, I think it?s one of my best starts to a season from a physical and motivational point of view. As a package, the team looks really great, everybody works together on both sides of the garage, so let?s go to Australia and enjoy ourselves with the kangaroos!
Ronald ten Kate ? team manager
Well, our winter testing has given us either a lot of rain or very cold weather. Luckily enough we have two extra days for testing at Phillip Island before the official test there. It might be too much to say it?s crucial, but it?s certainly really important because here we haven?t really stepped forward from what we were running at the end of last year. We haven?t really tested anything new on the bike yet, so at Phillip Island we?ll know if we?ve made some progress. Despite the conditions being cold and wet for our European tests, we?ve still run at the front of the field, which at least gives us a bit of confidence, but we?ll see in Australia where we really are.


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Successful start in Portimao for Melandri and Laverty

Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty today wrapped up the first World Superbike test of the 2011 season. Run over three days at the Portimao circuit in Portugal, Melandri and Laverty experienced mixed and challenging weather conditions as they put their 2011 YZF-R1 race bike through its paces.

Very limited dry track time made it impossible for the team to simulate any race distance runs to find a perfect set up for the Portimao circuit however they were able to successfully test and evaluate the updates and developments of the 2011 R1 and came away from the test confirming there were no issues and achieving positive results.

Successful evaluations included confirming the different weight distribution of the bike, updated electronics and performance running with the new 2011 FIM regulations that include standard fuel injectors, standard fuel regulator and standard fuel pump. The 2011 bike also features a small increase in horsepower.

Having only had shoulder surgery before Christmas with a recommended recovery time of two months, Melandri came to Portimao with the sole focus of learning the track and gaining valuable seat time on his new R1. Despite this the Italian rider impressed, without pushing he was able to challenge for some of the fastest times in the wet sessions (2nd in Wednesday?s wet session and 3rd in Thursday?s wet session), whilst keeping something in reserve for when fully fit in Australia next month.

Laverty continued to impress, the young rider continuing to adapt quickly to Superbike riding. He tested a few things with the team over the three days, again being unable to run race distance due to weather the time was spent focusing on development work. The final combined times saw him in third position just two tenths off the number one spot.

Eugene Laverty Yamaha World Superbike Team 3rd, 1?43.707 83laps
?Despite the weather it has been really beneficial for me to get some more laps on the bike. I hadn?t had any time on the R1 in the wet before this test so if race one at Phillip Island is wet now it?ll be fine! I?m really happy with the bike, in the wet and the dry. It was a slow start on the first day but then we made a big breakthrough with the front setting and I jumped up to third which is at least where I should be. It shows we can be strong so I?m confident we can be on the pace wherever we go. When I walk into the garage I feel at home. We came here and picked up where we left off from last year?s Phillip Island test really smoothly. I?m looking forward to getting back to Australia now for the two day test and then getting stuck into some racing!?
Marco Melandri Yamaha World Superbike Team 15th, 1?45.461 82laps
?I?m very happy with the results of this test. It was very important for me so soon after my shoulder operation to be careful and take it easy on the bike. I came here to focus on seeing the track and learning it along with some more time on the bike. We haven?t pushed very hard at all but I?m feeling very comfortable on it despite the discomfort of the shoulder. We seemed to find a very good wet set up very easily and I was surprised how easy it was to go fast. I?m looking forward now to getting to Australia, I?ve been training really hard to get back to full fitness so I am looking forward to being fully fit and really going for it and pushing.?

Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

?This test was very important as we had full spec of the 2011 race bike so we had to verify that everything was right. It was also quite important for Melandri to test his shoulder after the operation before Christmas. I must say I?m impressed with the job he did. He was able to ride well. The first day he had a lot of pain but he adjusted quickly to the track and the second day in the wet where the riding style is not so aggressive he had more mobility. Eugene was also improving consistently. He worked hard on the set up on the Wednesday, the results were confirmed later in the afternoon with some fast laps. Unfortunately the weather did not help. I think for the future we should look elsewhere for less unpredictable weather. We leave Portimao with a good feeling and a competitive package. We have another two days of testing to work on the set up for the first Philip island race, I am confident Marco will be back in shape and fully fit.?

Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies impress on first Yamaha YZF-R6 Outing

The official factory supported Yamaha YZF-R6 race bikes were warmly welcomed back to the paddock by Infront at Portimao, the Yamaha ParkinGO Team and riders Scassa and Davies taking their first outing with the Yamaha Supersport bikes. With the agreement for the 2011 season between the team and Yamaha reached less than two weeks before the test there was just time to dust off Crutchlow?s R6s? (last raced in 2009 where he dominated on his way to the world title), and refresh the engines before they took to the track on Wednesday.

The test was approached as a familiarization session for both the riders and the team, with the combined times not reflecting the speed with which the two riders got to grips with their bikes, even leading several of the sessions at times and recording some of the fastest times of the sessions. This was particularly impressive considering everyone was new to the machines, Scassa?s performance in particular defied the physical size of the rider, weighing over 80kg and standing 1.82m tall.

There continues to be a lot of work for the team ahead to prepare for the first race in Australia, with materials due to be shipped out to Phillip Island in less than two weeks the focus now lies in preparing spare parts and finalizing the designs for the 2011 race season.


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Castrol Honda on track

We have pleasure informing you that a new video showing Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus on track on their Castrol Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades is now available for viewing.

The video, which also incorporates footage of the team launch, together with interviews with the riders and team-manager, Ronald ten Kate, was shot at last week's official WSBK pre-season test at Portimao in Portugal.

The YouTube link is www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVd46b6O2Yg


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Phillip Island - Two-day Private Test
Castrol Honda's 2011 preparations continue in Australia
The Castrol Honda World Superbike Team completed a two-day private test at Phillip Island in Australia today, ahead of next week?s official test (21-22 February), which will be followed by the opening round of the 2011 World Superbike championship (25-27 February).

The team has been blighted by poor weather conditions in Europe over the winter and maximised the opportunity offered by dry conditions to test a number of new components on its Castrol Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades.

Jonathan Rea completed 102 laps yesterday and settled quickly into a fast rhythm around the sweeping 4.5km circuit 150km south of Melbourne. However, in wet conditions this morning the 24-year-old crashed at Phillip Island?s fast turn one.

Rea suffered neck pains and was transferred to hospital for a scan, which was clear, but he missed the rest of the day?s testing programme.

Rea?s Castrol Honda team-mate, Ruben Xaus, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday in Australia tomorrow, took full advantage of his first real opportunity to get some dry time on his new CBR1000RR.

Jonathan Rea:

Everything felt really good yesterday and we did more laps than we?ve done during the whole winter in Europe. This morning it was wet but, when it stopped raining and looked like clearing up, I went out but got off the bike quite quickly at turn one. I hurt my neck a bit but the paramedics insisted on putting me in a brace and taking me to hospital where it took about four hours to get a scan. Everything was fine and it was a little frustrating to lose the time today. But yesterday showed that we?re in a pretty good place, so I?m looking forward to some more testing on Monday.

Ruben Xaus:

I?m quite tired actually! I?ve done a lot of laps yesterday and today and this is quite a physical circuit. Combined with trying lots of different things and still a bit of jet-lag, it?s been a tough couple of days. But so far so good, and we?ve had to go through a lot of different things to learn more about the bike and how it behaves in different situations. I don?t want to go out and just give it full gas for three fast laps; I want to be able to go fast after a lot of laps, which is really important here. We know which direction we?re going in and we?ll follow that way when we come back on Monday and work a little more on stability through the corner.

Ronald ten Kate ? team manager
Well, Jonathan had quite a big off this morning, but everything was fine yesterday and I saw he Tweeted that the bike was ?jammin?, which is a good thing I think! He was still on full wets this morning, even though the puddles had gone, and when he got back from the hospital it was quite late, so we gave him the rest of the afternoon off! Ruben and his crew have been going through a lot of work here because it?s been his first chance to ride the bike properly in dry conditions. They tried a lot of different settings and found a good way to head into the official tests next week.


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Rea crash disrupts Castrol Honda preparations
Jonathan Rea crashed during a World Superbike championship testing session at Phillip Island in Australia this afternoon, potentially jeopardising his participation in this weekend?s opening round of the 2011 championship.

Rea had set the third quickest time in this morning?s session on day two of an official WSBK test and was on his first lap this afternoon when he crashed at Phillip Island?s fast turn three, getting off his Castrol Honda CBR1000RR at around 210kph (130mph).

Rea dislocated the ring finger on his left hand but was later transferred to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne to undergo x-rays and scans on his left wrist. Despite the crash, the 24-year-old set the third fastest overall time of the test, with Carlos Checa and Sylvain Guintoli taking the top two slots.

His Castrol Honda team-mate, Ruben Xaus, meanwhile set the 13th fastest time over the two days. The Spanish rider continues to familiarise himself with the CBR1000RR after severely curtailed winter testing time, and has been able to improve his times in each of the testing sessions at Phillip Island.
Jonathan Rea ? best lap 1m31.206s
I?m so frustrated because we were just about there on race pace and everything was feeling really good. Early in this afternoon?s session, I was in turn three and winding it on when I suddenly felt the rear squirming and then I realised the bike was on fire. Basically I had to get off it quickly and unfortunately it was at 130mph, which is quick enough. My finger and wrist are sore ? in fact I?m pretty sore all over ? but I?m still waiting for the final diagnosis. At the moment it?s too early to know how I?ll be feeling at the weekend, but I certainly didn?t want to start this season the way I finished the last one. I know it?s one of those things that you don?t expect and can?t prepare for, but it?s nobody?s fault and we?ll just have to hope I can be back on it soon.
Ruben Xaus ? best lap 1m32.405s

We?ve had four days here now and done many laps on the bike, which I really needed. It?s like when you go to school and you need to put in the study hours to improve. We had a few problems in the first test last week when we struggled for grip opening the throttle. Johnny has given me some help and his set-up, which is completely different to what we had last week, seems to be a way around that and during these last two days we have shifted more weight to the front of the bike and it?s definitely improved things. We?ve worked step-by-step, especially working to stop the bike jumping around a bit at the rear. We?ve got a couple of days to relax and analyse things now, but that?s the only thing that?s slowing me down a little. I?d like to be closer to the front, of course, but we haven?t had the best weather during our winter tests, so we just haven?t done as many laps as some others. The times are still quite close though, so I?m looking forward to getting back on the bike this weekend and getting the season started, which I hope will be the same for Johnny.
Ronald ten Kate ? team manager

The testing was going well until the start of this afternoon?s session when Jonathan had a very big crash. He was not to blame at all for the crash, which came at high speed when the machine started to leak oil on his rear tyre and caught fire. Jonathan was forced to jump off at one of the fastest corners of the track. We hope he?ll be back on the bike with us soon. On Ruben?s side we are step-by-step improving the set-up, but we?re sure we?ll master it and have the puzzle sorted by the weekend. He?s been going faster in every session and we aim to keep things going in that direction.


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Yamaha World Superbike Team Wrap Up Phillip Island Test

2011 Yamaha World Superbike riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri today completed the second of two days testing at the Phillip Island circuit ahead of the season opening round this coming weekend. Both riders spent the sessions working on set up to deliver consistent pace for the Australian circuit. The team achieved their target of testing all updates for the 2011 R1 race bike, and will now take a couple of days rest in preparation for the two races on Sunday 27th February.

Italian rider Marco Melandri is still recovering from his previous shoulder operation and so rode less on the final sessions to give himself enough time to rest before the weekend.

Marco Melandri, Yamaha World Superbike Team
8th, 1?32.122

?I am very happy because I feel a big improvement from my shoulder. The second day was still quite difficult though, I didn?t ride a lot as my shoulder was having some pain. The bike has made a small improvement over the last test and we have a good plan to make it even better for the race. My physical condition for the race distance is a question mark but we will see what happens on Sunday!?
Eugene Laverty, Yamaha World Superbike Team 9th, 1?32.137
?It?s been a tough test but we?re making progress bit by bit. We?re focusing on consistency for the races, that?s been the focus since we started the test. We?ve found that now and all we need is a little bit more pace. I?m excited about the race, it?s a strange track like no other and requires a unique set up. I think it?s going to be the smart guys who are there at the end of the race.?

Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager - Andrea Dosoli

?All our jobs are done here for the test which gives us the confidence that we?ve achieved our targets. We wanted a more consistent bike and we?ve got it. The Ducati is very quick at this track so we need to improve some more and reduce the time difference. For the two races on Sunday I am feeling quite confident as Eugene is improving everyday and is very consistent. Marco has also put a lot of laps in on his shoulder so we believe that with two days of rest he will be ok for the races. After all the winter tests we are ready. Considering both riders are World Superbike rookies and Marco recently had an operation we are happy with our results here.?

Yamaha ParkinGO Team Complete Second World Supersport Test
Yamaha ParkinGO riders Luca Scassa and Chas Davies wrapped up the World Superpsort test at Phillip Island today, completing a valuable two days of familiarization with the 2009 championship winning Yamaha R6 Supersport bike. This is only the second opportunity the team and riders have had to spend time with the machines due to the late coming together of Yamaha and ParkinGo.

The team changed suspension partners between tests so this was their first time riding with the new set up. Both riders spent the two days chasing down a set up for the upcoming World Supersport opening round this weekend. Davies testing today was interrupted by a high speed crash after a change of tyres, the young British rider walking away uninjured after coming off on a fast right hand corner, crashing at nearly 220km?hr.

Luca Scassa finished the test sitting seventh fastest in the standings with a time of 1?35.272, team mate Chas Davies was in 11th with a time of 1?35.819.


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Rea faces longer recovery battle
Castrol Honda World Superbike rider Jonathan Rea looks set to miss more than just this weekend?s two seventh round World Superbike championship races at Aragon in Spain following surgery in the UK yesterday.

Rea crashed during warm-up for round six of the series last Sunday at Misano in Italy, with the most serious initial diagnosis - following x-rays at the Ospetale Bufalini in Cesena - being a fractured radius near his right wrist.

The 24-year-old from Northern Ireland flew back to Manchester on Monday to visit consultant orthopaedic hand surgeon, Mike Hayton, who operated on Rea yesterday afternoon. In addition to the radius fracture, however, the surgery also revealed damage to the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist.

A screw was inserted in the radius bone and the ligament damage has been pinned. It means that Rea is unlikely to be fit to compete at the Brno round in the Czech Republic on 8-10 July.

Jonathan Rea:

I was pretty upset when I got the news after the surgery yesterday because it means a longer rehab than we?d thought. It?s difficult, of course, and I?m devastated, but I?ve got a great team around me so I know I?ll get all the support I need to come back strong. As I said before, I want to be 100% when I get back on the bike so, at the moment, I?m not going to put a definitive timescale on that. I?ll just concentrate on getting back to fitness as fast and as completely as I can.

Ronald ten Kate:

Well, without doubt, this was not the news we wanted to hear. We had all hoped that Jonathan?s injury was quite straightforward and easy to heal. Now it seems it is a bit more complicated and will take longer to fix. The important thing is that he takes the time needed to fix it properly because there are still quite some circuits left on the calendar where we know that Jonathan and the bike work very well together. Of course, we have to begin thinking about another rider on the bike while Jonathan is away, but we also need to concentrate on Aragon this weekend and getting the best possible setting for Ruben to compete to his full potential.


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Alex Lowes to replace injured Rea

The Castrol Honda team has announced that Britain?s Alex Lowes is to replace its injured rider Jonathan Rea for the eighth round of the World Superbike championship at Brno in the Czech Republic on 7-9 July.

Rea, 24, sustained a fracture and ligament damage to his right arm and wrist in a warm-up crash at Misano in Italy last week and faces an intense period of rehabilitation and recovery.

Alex Lowes is currently competing in the British Superbike championship. Having started the season in the ?Evo? class on a Honda CBR1000RR, the 20-year-old from Lincoln recently moved up to full superbike specification to replace injured Kawasaki rider Stuart Easton.

Lowes took a spectacular pole position in his first British Superbike ride last month at Thruxton. Along with his twin brother Sam, who rides for the Parkalgar Honda World Supersport team, Lowes contested the European Superstock championships in 2008 and 2009 and is familiar with Brno and other WSBK circuits.
Alex Lowes
The first thing I want to say is that I hope Jonathan?s injuries heal quickly and that he?s back on the bike soon. It?s never ideal getting a ride because another rider has been hurt, but it?s now happened to me twice this season. Having said that, this is an incredible opportunity for me ? I keep pinching myself because I?m riding for one of the world?s best race teams in the World Superbike championship. I know I have a lot to learn but I want to make the most of this and repay Castrol, Honda and the whole team for the faith they?ve shown in me.
Ronald ten Kate ? team manager

At the beginning of this season, Alex made quite a stunning impression riding an Evo specification Honda in the British Superbike championship. Of course, we?re grateful to his current team ? MSS Kawasaki ? for releasing him to us at this stage of the season. The combination of Alex?s sheer riding ability, his young age and a strong ambition to move up to world championship racing make us believe that he will be an ideal substitute while Jonathan is recuperating from his injuries. We hope he can quickly adapt to the SBK specification CBR1000RR and show some of his raw speed on a world stage.


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Yamaha WSB rider Cook off with Jamie Oliver's ministry of food.
What does professional motorcycle riding and cookery have in common? Well ? everything. Everyone has to eat! And if it?s true what they say; "you are what you eat", then healthy eating must be the vital ingredient in success. In motorcycle racing winning is everything! But how many of the well-known successful motorcycle riders know how to russle up something nutritional (and tasty) in the kitchen, without biting into their busy training schedule? Well Yamaha are going to put their two World Superbike riders; Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri, to the test and YOU can be the judge of their hidden talents.

The next stop off on the 2011World Superbike Championship calendar is Silverstone - U.K , weekend of the 29th ? 31st July and we have invited Jamie Oliver?s Ministry of Food to come along and pass on some of the tricks of the trade to create a nutritional, fast and above all tasty menu ahead of a hectic race weekend.

Jamie Oliver has campaigned for many years to improve food in both schools and the home and in 2008, Jamie set up the Ministry of Food Centre to encourage people to get cooking from scratch again. The Ministry, whose first Centre opened in Rotherham following the Channel 4 TV series, 'Jamie's Ministry of Food', proves that anyone can learn to cook, so long as they have the basic knowledge. Ministry of Food classes are fun and have so far inspired hundreds of local people to ditch ready meals and takeaways in favour of fresh, home-cooked food which saves them money as well as being better nutritionally.

Can Jamie?s team of experts provide the vital ingredients to back Yamaha?s Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri on their battle to the championship title? Come along, taste and decide for yourself!

Eugene Laverty
Yamaha World Superbike Team rider

?I am really looking forward to the cook-off with Jamie?s Ministry of Food. Jamie is an excellent chef and a few of his cooking tips certainly won?t go astray in my kitchen! Nutrition is obviously very important for everyone but for us riders it?s vital! All our hard work training prior to race weekends would be a complete waste without a healthy diet and if we want to be on top form on race day, we have to know how to eat properly. So the cook-off with Jamie?s team should be fun but I?m pretty sure it?ll also be an education!?

When: Thursday 28th July at 4pm
Where: Yamaha World Superbike Team hospitality - paddock area of the Silverstone race track


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Melandri and Laverty Complete Two Successful Days Testing in Misano

Yamaha World Superbike riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty have just completed two very successful days testing their R1 machinery, in ideal weather conditions, at the Misano Adriatico circuit on Italy's Adriatic Riviera.

The team enjoyed good weather, sunshine with an air temperature of 31 degrees and a track temperature of 44 for the two days testing with rain appearing briefly this afternoon but only disrupting track time by less than 30 minutes. The 12th round of the World Superbike championship will take place close by in Imola, just next week, in what should be similarly warm conditions.With just three stop offs left on the 2011 calendar, the Yamaha WSB team made sure to make the most of the two days testing, Marco Melandri completing 172 laps while Eugene Laverty put in a total of 190, as final preparation work before the season close down. Yamaha World Superbike Team riders also got the chance to get to grips yesterday with the new tyres Pirelli have prepared for the final phase of the championship and gather important data for the development of new 2012 tyre compounds.

Melandri and Laverty worked their way through a variety of different settings over the two days, making adjustments and advances to the chassis, electronics, engine brake and geometry of their R1 machinery. Improvements were immediately evident, allowing the Yamaha WSB riders to then proceed to improve on fast lap times but also to work on their race pace and successfully complete a series of consistently fast laps on race tyres. Marco Melandri wrapped up the two days testing in Misano after setting the fastest time. The Italian lapped the track in a time of 1?35.8, an impressive eight tenths of a second faster than June's race record lap (1'36.520) set by Carlos Checa, the current championship points leader. Team-mate Laverty was also on the pace, completing the two days just two tenths of a second behind Melandri, setting the second fastest time of 1?36.0.

With the successful work completed over the two days in Misano, The Yamaha World Superbike Team will head to Imola next weekend, confident of having the competitive package required to put on a strong battle for victory and keep the championship title within reach.

Marco Melandri
Yamaha World Superbike Team

"We?ve just completed two very positive days testing. I had a particularly tough race weekend here in June so we tried various new settings over the last two days and found positive results all around. We made progress with the engine brake which I had been struggling with during the season and hopefully we made a step in the right direction which will help in the remaining three races also. We spent a significant part of yesterday working with Pirelli mainly on new compound solutions for the 2012 season. Overall, it went really well. We worked very hard but made improvements and were fast and consistent throughout the two days."

Eugene Laverty
Yamaha World Superbike Team

"We got a lot of work done over the last two days testing. It?s possibly the best test we have done so far this season. The first day we worked mainly with Pirelli on trying solutions for next year which should be useful. In the remainder of yesterday and then again today we tried a variety of different settings and gathered plenty of useful data. We discovered some interesting things about the geometry of the bike which should help me improve my turning and will be a benefit to me in the last three rounds of this season. We definitely mad a big step in the right direction and I?m quite pleased with the two days overall."

Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

"We were back on track in Misano, three months after the race, a race which didn?t go particularly well for us with either Marco or Eugene. There was a wide time gap behind Carlos and Max and we just weren?t fast enough. This time in Misano we immediately tried different chassis set ups on both bikes which provided positive results allowing both riders to put in faster laps. On day one we spent the morning getting reacquainted with the track before then moving on to working through some new tyre compounds with Pirelli and providing them with important data they?ll use to develop suitable tyres for the coming rounds and in particular for next year. Today we worked our way through various different front and rear set-ups making changes to the chassis, the electronics and geometry of the machine, improving on overall performance and allowing both riders to improve on fast lap times but also on race pace and consistency. We are coming away from Misano pleased with the work carried out and confident ahead of next weekend?s race in Imola."

Castrol Honda riders happy after two-day Misano test

The Castrol Honda team has completed a two-day test at the Misano circuit in Italy with riders Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus declaring themselves happy with progress. The test was Rea?s first visit to the circuit where he crashed in June, sustaining a wrist injury that kept him out of action until two weeks ago.

With three rounds still remaining in the 2011 World Superbike season, the team has been working on developments for the current CBR1000RR. However, Rea and Xaus were also joined by Japanese rider Makoto Tamada at the Misano test and tried some development parts for next year?s racing machine.

In spite of a brief rain shower this afternoon, the test was conducted in temperatures of more than 30 degrees ahead of next week?s 11th round of the series at Imola, just an hour up the road from Misano.

Jonathan Rea

It?s been a real proper test, this, and we had a lot of stu ff to work through. On top of that, Pirelli also brought some new rubber to try so, in the end, we actually ran out of time. We probably needed the rest of this week to get through everything, but we can definitely see the potential of the fly-by-wire system that I tested for the first time today. Also, I?m able to ride a lot more in my comfort zone with this new package and it helped with engine braking, too. Going back to Misano was no problem for me and, in fact, I was going through the corner where I crashed faster than I did during the race weekend in June. Pirelli brought a lot of soft rubber and we could have used a qualifier to try for a time, but we had to keep our heads down and keep focused on the work we had to get through. The lap time is probably about where we are at the moment, but we know that the next step forward will push us back to the front.

Ruben Xaus

Well it felt good to be back on a bike again properly f or the first time since the Brno crash in July. Of course, after two days of testing, I was tired, but it felt like a naturally tiredness. We?ve been testing some different electronics and the bike is much easier to control. The feeling is much better and the bike definitely feels stronger and faster. It?s been a good two days for motivation and to give me confidence heading into Imola next week ? I?m feeling like I can really go for it when we get there.


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Hiroshi Aoyama with Honda World Superbike for 2012

Honda Motor Europe and Ten Kate Racing have announced that its second rider for the 2012 World Superbike championship will be Hiroshi Aoyama from Japan.
Aoyama is currently competing in MotoGP with the San Carlo Honda Gresini team on a Honda RC212V. Before MotoGP, he rode in the 250cc Grand Prix series, taking a total of nine victories with 18 other podium finishes.

Aoyama was the last ever 250cc World Champion in 2009, before the series became Moto2. He rode a Honda RS250RW to victory with four wins during the season, beating rivals Hector Barbera, Marco Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista to the coveted title.
The 29-year-old from Japan?s Chiba prefecture began racing pocket bikes at the age of five and progressed through 125cc and 250cc All Japan championship racing before graduating to the 250cc Grand Prix series in 2004.
Aoyama has ridden on Honda machinery almost throughout his racing career and, despite having to learn some new circuits, says he is very much looking forward to continuing his association with Honda on the new CBR1000RR Fireblade in the 2012 World Superbike championship.

Hiroshi Aoyama

I have raced in MotoGP for the last couple of years and it has really been a great experience for me. I really want to thank Fausto Gresini and all the staff and technicians of Team San Carlo Honda Gresini for this extraordinary period in my career. Now I have the opportunity to go to World Superbike with Honda and Ten Kate Racing and I?m very excited about this new challenge. I don?t know very much about Superbike but I really hope to make a good job together with my new team.

Ronald ten Kate - team manager

We are all thrilled about Hiroshi Aoyama joining us for what promises to be a really exciting 2012 World Superbike championship. He?s coming to SBK at still quite a young age and the speed he has shown in the last couple of years in MotoGP is beyond question. We hope that, with a solid winter testing programme, we can make Hiroshi?s transition to the new SBK-specification Fireblade as quick and easy as possible. Of course, we?d like to thank Ruben [Xaus] for his efforts this season and the team wishes him the very best for the future.

Carlo Fiorani - Superbike Racing Manager, Honda Motor Europe

Of course we are very excited to have Hiroshi Aoyama join our World Superbike team for next season. He grew up inside the Honda family and has gained a lot of experience at different levels. We are sure that he can bring that experience and a strong Honda spirit to the team. Honda Motor Europe has been looking for a dynamic and fast partner for Jonathan Rea and we are convinced that this combination is the best way to take us forward as we develop the new CBR1000RR Fireblade for 2012.

Hiroshi Aoyama - profile

Birthplace - Ichihara-shi, Chiba, Japan

Date of birth - October 25, 1981

Height - 165cm

Weight - 55kg

Interests - Motocross, Dirt track

Career highlights

1987 Started Pocketbike racing

1995 Started Minibike racing

1996 Kanto District Minibike Champion

1997 Kanto District Minibike Champion

1998 2nd -- 125cc Tsukuba Championship

7th -- 250cc Tsukuba Production Class

1999 11th -- 125cc All Japan Championship ? HONDA

2nd -- 250cc All Japan Championship ? HONDA

2001 8th -- 250cc All Japan Championship ? HONDA

2002 2nd -- 250cc All Japan Championship ? HONDA

2003 250cc All Japan Champion ? HONDA

2004 6th -- 250cc Grand Prix ? HONDA

2005 4th -- 250cc Grand Prix ? HONDA

2006 4th -- 250cc Grand Prix ? KTM

2007 6th -- 250cc Grand Prix ? KTM

2008 7th -- 250cc Grand Prix ? KTM

2009 250cc Grand Prix World Champion ? HONDA

2010 15th ? MotoGP ? HONDA


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Castrol Honda rounds out 2011 with Doha test

The Castrol Honda World Superbike team has concluded its 2011 on-track activities with a three-day test at the Losail circuit in Doha, Qatar.

Jonathan Rea was joined by his 2012 team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, for the test with the riders completing differing agendas at the 5.38km desert circuit. Both used the 2011 version of Honda?s CBR1000RR Fireblade, which will be comprehensively updated next season with a 20th anniversary edition of the iconic sportsbike.
Rea, who missed four rounds of the 2011 season after wrist surgery following a crash at Misano, Italy in June, used the Qatar test to try a new swingarm, Ohlins suspension and other chassis components, which can be utilised on the new machine.
Aoyama, meanwhile, joined his new team for the first time in Qatar after completing the 2011 MotoGP season with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini. The Japanese rider spent the three-day test getting comfortable on the CBR machine and testing Pirelli tyres for the first time.
With a new testing ban from 1 December to 15 January imposed by World Superbike championship organizers, InFront Motorsports, the team will next be together for a private test at Phillip Island in Australia in January 2012.

Jonathan Rea

We?ve got through a lot of work these three days and ended with two long runs today, which was pretty tough in the heat. We?ve tried heaps of stuff and, like the last couple of tests, we ended up running out of time. But it?s still been really productive and I?m looking forward to starting the next test on my favourite combination of components because we weren?t able to finish on that today. We?ve been making some quite big changes to the bike, just to feel the difference between the various set-ups and everyone has been working really well. It was good to be back at this circuit too; I like it here, and I?m really looking forward to getting back on the bike again in January.
Hiroshi Aoyama
I got food poisoning before I left Spain to go for the test so I was a bit uncomfortable to start. Also, my leather suits didn?t arrive in time so I was forced to use an old one. But it was a very interesting test and a good opportunity for me to meet my new team and spend some time getting used to the new bike and the tyres. We still have some work to make the bike more comfortable for me to ride so I was not able to push really hard. I don?t know much about the bike yet and there is still a lot to discover, so I will continue to learn, little-by-little. But the test has been really good and I hope we?ll get some new materials for the next time I ride the bike
Ronald ten Kate ? team manager
We set ourselves a lot of goals for the development of the bike for next season and we have managed to tick a lot of boxes during this test, so we can start putting the 2012 bikes together now. One of the other objectives we had was also to find a fast team-mate for Jonathan and we have definitely ticked that box too! Both riders were under the lap record here and it?s been very hot, with track temperature above 50 degrees. Jonathan has worked on chassis parts for the 2012 machine and we introduced ride-by-wire electronics for the first time for on-throttle riding. Before we have only used it on corner entry, but now we have been working on corner exit, too. The results of this have been very positive and clear. Hiroshi has obviously been getting used to the machine and, because of his size and weight, we need to make some new parts to make him really comfortable on the bike. Despite these problems, we?re still very satisfied with his times and looking forw ard to making further progress with both riders early next year.