Melandri 0.2 secs off Rossi at Valencia test

New Factory Yamaha WSB signing impresses - on qualifiers

STERILGARDA YAMAHA World Superbike 2011 team-mates Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty have been out on track in testing at Valencia, putting both the 2010 and new 2011 racebike through their paces.

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. On qualifying tyres, Melandri posted a lap only 0.2secs slower than Valentino Rossi's best lap at the previous day’s MotoGP test.

Team-mate Eugene Laverty posted a best time of 1:34.9 and clocked up 76 laps, but, unlike Melandri, wasn't running qualifying tyres.

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.”