Yamaha unveils WSBK team livery

New bike, new colors, new riders and new name.

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Feb. 13, 2009
Yamaha has unveiled the new racing livery for its 2009 World Superbike team.

Everything about the Yamaha’s WSBK team seems new for 2009: new bike, new colors, new riders and even a new name.

Formerly known as Yamaha Motor Italia, the team has been rebranded as the Yamaha World Superbike Team. The new R1 with its crossplane crankshaft engine and uneven firing order restores the traditional Yamaha-blue after last season’s red livery.

The all-new team of three-time AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies and former British Superbike racer Tom Sykes will pilot the new bike and both have shown some promise during preseason testing. Spies recorded the second-fastest lap time in both the December 2008 test in South Africa and the January 2009 test in Portugal. Sykes was fourth overall in Portugal, less than a tenth of a second behind his teammate.

Yamaha returns to its traditinal blue for its 2009 World Superbike R1 livery.“The bike is incredibly confidence inspiring,” says Spies. “The way it lays down the power so smoothly, especially through the corners in both the wet and the dry is incredible. It’s got better and better over the last couple of months in testing, I really can’t wait to get it on the start line at Phillip Island for that first race.”

Spies joins the team with his former AMA crew chief Tom Houseworth. Former Alice Ducati MotoGP track engineer Sergio Verbena will serve as Sykes’ crew chief.

“It’s a challenge to get to grips with a new bike, new team and new championship all at the same time, however the fact the bike is amazing and the team so professional has made it a great challenge,” says Sykes. “I’m really working well with the new R1, the chassis feels really planted and poised, like Ben I can’t wait to get out there and race with it!”

The 2009 World Superbike Championship begins March 1 at Australia’s Phillip Island Circuit.