At the end of a disappointing 2009 season Motorpoint Yamaha team boss Rob McElnea was on the verge of winding up his team.
As a last-ditch effort he asked rival team GSE Racing’s James Ellison to test their bike - just to see if he could give them a new direction in bike set-up, given his experience of what made the Airwaves Yamaha R1 such a domiant force in BSB.
The test was a success and last week McElnea discovered that his 2010 line-up of former WSB champion Neil Hodgson and Dan Linfoot both agreed, after three days of testing at Almeria, that Ellison’s feedback had put the bike on track for the new season.
McElnea talked to MCN about the test.
What was the general feel from the Almeria test?
The team is buzzing. It could not have been more perfect. Everything worked out as we hoped and we can go into the Christmas break with smiles on our faces.
It didn’t sound from the two riders like you had heaps of track time though?
It wasn’t ideal in terms of we really wanted to test - we were sharing track time with Focused Events.
They let us have the lunch hour to ourselves each day and we also were able to run in the fast group - though, as you can imagine, it was a bit busy on track!
But it was more about getting Neil and Dan a feel for the bike to get a general direction.
Were you happy with Neil’s first impressions of the bike?
He’s not totally worked it out yet (how the R1 has to be ridden differently).
He says it feels weird – it’s not a Ducati and it’s not a Honda but he’s got that Ducati experience and knows what it needs.
It was hard to get a rhythm going but both riders worked really well and both of them are desperate to get back on the bikes – which is always a good sign.
Troy Corser spent two or three days at the track before us, and Neil was only about half a second off his lap times so we were all pleased with that.
You are back using K-Tech again?
We had some issues (with the Ohlins) and the K-Tech overcame them.
We knew they would be different and Neil expected how they would work because he rode on them in the States.
How did Linfoot adapt?
We sold it to him (the idea of riding the superbike for McElnea again in 2010) after James Ellison had tested our bike.
To be fair it was really horrible to ride the way it was set up before when Dan rode it in BSB races. He loves it now and looked really good on the bike.
We’ve got some new swing-arms, electronics, clutches and we’re going to shave some weight off the bikes. They we’ll go testing again around february