World Superbike Testing Notes And Sounds From Portugal, Tuesday

Some of the World Superbike paddock got to head straight off on vacation - at least once their hangovers from the end of season party subsided. But for a few hardy souls, and a bunch of series rookies, work started on Monday, after the annual journalist blagfest which sees writers from selected magazines - some former racers, some just very lucky and very scared - ride the world's trickest production bikes around the spectacular Portimao track.

The busiest part of pit lane is outside the Aprilia garage, where people are crowded round the newest entrant to the World Superbike paddock. The bike has has one or two teething troubles, occasionally refusing to start, but since getting underway, Max Biaggi has been lapping at speed.

The other easy-to-spot garage in the otherwise quiet pit lane is the Yamaha Motor Italia box, where rookies Ben Spies and Tom Sykes are making their debut aboard the Yamaha R1. The interest in the Yamaha pits is twofold: On the one hand, there's the biggest name American to join a World Championship since Nicky Hayden went to Repsol Honda, and a promising and very talented young British rider at his side. On the other, there's the brand new, long bang, cross-plane crankshaft R1, currently decked out in skunkworks-style black carbon fiber, and looking like it's been rolled freshly out of Yamaha's Racing Department workshops.

There's plenty of other new faces here, too. Shakey Byrne is circulating on the Sterilgarda Ducati and is looking what the Brits are calling "proper fast". Eugene Laverty has taken over the seat vacated by the tragic death of Craig Jones, and kept warm by double AMA Formula Extreme champion Josh Hayes, and is learning his way around the bike and the circuit. 

Another newcomer is the Australian Ant West. West has left a disastrous season aboard a disastrous Kawasaki MotoGP bike behind him and is circulating on the Stiggy Motorsports Honda Supersport bike.

No times have yet been released, though an informal timing of Alessandro Polita on the Sterilgarda Ducati saw him lapping in the high 1'46s. When asked about times, team managers are evasive, Simon Buckmaster saying "It's just a shakedown test, to get Eugene comfortable on the bike."

Pictures to follow, but here's a couple of recordings of the two bikes generating the most interest in the paddock. 

2009 Yamaha R1

Aprilia RSV4

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Thanks for keeping us up to date about SBK testing as it appears that there is not much media interest for this test. Times are not yet released, right?


I can't help but think how much that new R1 sounds like the M1's.