Phase One announce World Endurance line-up

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Britain’s top World Endurance championship team Yamaha Phase One Endurance have announced their rider line up for the 2009 series.

Team regular Damian Cudlin will be partnered by international endurance veteran Sebastian Scarnato in the shorter races, with brother Alex Cudlin taking part in the 24-hour races. Alex will also support the Scarnato and Cudlin pairing at the shorter events.

Phaase One have won the World Endurance title three times – 1993, 2000 and 2003 and team owner Russell Benney reckons he has a 2009 line-up that possesses the right balance to seriously challenge for the championship.

He said: “Scarnato and Cudlin probably possess the most combined World Endurance Championship experience of any of the contenders in 2009.

“I believe that Alex Cudlin will be a fine partner for the 24-hour races as his reliability has been proven time and time again. Actually we are all eager to see what performance he delivers as the season progresses.”

With SERT Suzuki no longer expected to contest the full series, Phase One will spearhead the Dunlop challenge, a situation that Benney is relishing. “To have such support agreed from Dunlop will put the team in a very strong position indeed,” he said.

“Obviously we have no idea at this stage just how strong the competition will be, particularly from Michelin, but we are happy that the 2008 tyres will form a competitive basis to build on.”

Phase One will again compete at the Isle of Man TT races with road racing star James McBride aboard one of the team's slimmed-down endurance bikes. James will also be reserve rider for the team's endurance efforts.

The team will run two bikes in the Isle of Man with the second rider as yet undecided and there are plans to race at the North West 200 though nothing has been finalised.

Team insiders are already predicting that the 2009 'Big Bang' YZF-R1 Yamaha is going to be a step change in competitiveness. Early dyno testing suggests that there is already an advantage over the 2008 machinery.

"Apparently, good progress is being made in all areas of engineering on the new endurance bike, with completion of the endurance spec bike targeted for the second week of February.

The team will display two of its outgoing machines at next weekend's NEC trade show. The team's first main test will be at Albacete, March 10-12.

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin