Haydon signs for Virgin Media Yamaha

New name for the Yamaha squad and Haydon is in

JAMES Haydon has ended weeks of speculation by finally putting pen to a Virgin Mobile contract for 2007. Following the sale of Virgin Mobile to the NTL group the team will now be known as Virgin Media Yamaha.

Haydon's vast experience will act as a foil for Tommy Hill's youthful exuberance. Said team owner Rob MacElnea: ' I expect we'll get a bit of a kicking over this announcement in that we've traditionally been a team centred around youth and youth development. But I really think James (Haydon) will bring out the best in Tommy. James knows and respects us as a team and has worked well with us in the past. The new R1 is totally new, the Pirellis have really moved up a notch in terms of their performance and we all have a very good feeling about next year.'

So what about the skeptics and doubters? Will they be asking Rob Mac about the size of his spares budget for next year?

"I guess people will make those obvious wisecracks and comments, yes. But what people don't already know is that all this year, I've been the only team in the paddock with a skip out the back of the garage for all the crashed parts. One of those builder's yellow fibreglass rubble tubes would have been quite useful at a few of the rounds we were getting through that many bits! I think James will do us proud, we know how he works, he knows how we work. We're all looking forward to it!"

New signing Tom Grant has been wisely talked out of the Superbike ride and will instead take up the much more sensible option of a Supersports 600 ride along with Billy McConnell. Grant, the winner of the 06 R6 Cup will now spend a year working alongside the Superbike team in readiness for the 2008 season.

McConnell, a fellow R6 Cup winner, will be stepping down from Superbike to SS600 but he's got to be a strong candidate for the series with his combination of experience and ability.