Yamaha return to World Superbikes after a gap of 4 years. The Philip Island circuit in Australia will host the historic return of the Japanese manufacturer to the FIM WSBK championship. Practice for the Australian GP kicks off on Friday morning with Race#1 on Saturday followed by the race#2 on Sunday.
The return of the Pata Yamaha Official WSBK team is headed by riders Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli on board the Yamaha YZF-R1. The team has managed to give a strong showing during the official pre-season testing with careful groundwork, development and evaluation. The team is eager to begin their championship challenge in earnest as the first race of the 2016 season gets underway on Sunday, the 28th of February.
Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guinto will get the action underway for the Pata Yamaha Official WSBK team at10:15 hours local time in the first of the two scheduled free practice sessions on 26th February. Philip Island is celebrating its 10th time as host of the WBSK opening round. The 4.45km circuit remains a favorite of riders and fans alike, overlooking the ocean on Australia’s Bass Coast. The high-speed layout of the circuit, the 12 corners and the constant changes of elevation and direction create a demanding challenge for the teams and promises to be a thrilling opener for the 2016 season.
According to rider Sylvain Guinto, “Phillip Island is my favorite track of the year. Going there for the first race is like starting your meal with a dessert! There is always a great atmosphere on the island, with plenty of sea, sun & fast corners. We also get the chance to go surfing on the off days and the WSBK pre-event this year is being held at Cowes Beach on Thursday afternoon so what’s not to like! Since our first outing in November the whole team has accomplished a lot of work and our progress has been very encouraging. Phillip Island will be the stepping stone so I am excited to race again and find out about our strengths and weaknesses. Make no mistake, our target is to win races but we do not want to underestimate the size of the task. Our potential is clearly strong but we are at the very beginning of the challenge.”
Rider Alex Lowes had this to say; “The Island is one of my favorite race tracks, as it is for most riders. From my first laps here I loved the place! It is a very fast track but it is also quite technical which is hard on tires and makes the racing close and tactical. My favorite corner is Stoner [corner] as it’s a very fast on power left-hander where the whole bike slides and I look forward to it every lap. In terms of machine set up, Phillip Island can throw up some challenges, as it has so many turns on throttle without too many hard braking areas so the best set-up can be quite peculiar. I’m still learning how best to ride the YZF-R1, after the last two days of testing here but, like everyone, I’m looking forward to this round and being the first one for all of us it’s important to get the season off to a trouble-free and solid start!”
Motorcyclist, Traveler, Aerospace Engineer and your friendly neighborhood Batman. Suhas has been meandering on two wheels since 2008. His love for automobiles, aeroplanes and his passion for travel has brought him here. He's a RC plane hobbyist currently building a Supermarine Spitfire and the Associate Editor at TheMotorLife