Hill on pace with R1

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Tommy Hill showed just how good the all-new Virgin Media Yamaha R1 is by setting fourth best time in the Snetterton test.

Late-arriving parts meant the team could only test at Mallory and Croft but Hill clocked a best time of 1:06.10, just over a second off Rea’s best.

He said: “Everyone else did 14 days of testing in Spain, eating ice creams. We did two days in England, huddling under umbrellas. It wasn’t that bad really.

“We actually had good weather and got a lot of work done. I’m happy to be in the top four here, especially as we did the times on race tyres.

“I’ve come here really positive and we’re out to beat the HM Plants, the Airwaves and Rizlas. Yeah, we’re a bit down on the Hondas on top speed but this place has the longest straights in BSB and I know we’re going to be in good shape on the tighter tracks, which make up most of the championship.”

The new R1 with it’s 16-valve head compared to last year’s 20-valve version is that the fully tuned race version has a much smoother power delivery – as well as more power overall .

“It feels like we’ve got a good, strong engine,” said Hill. “After a good day testing at Mallory I just wanted to get to a track like Croft where I could really open it up. Third and fourth gear it pulls like a train.

“But it’s more user friendly than the old engine, the power delivery is so much smoother which makes it easier to get on the gas out of corners.

“With the old bike the delivery was quite harsh low down but the only problem I’ve got with the new bike is that it’s almost too strong in third and fourth.

“When I change direction it’s hard to keep on line because the thing is pushing forward so hard. We can tame that so it’s not really a problem. But it’s impressive how strong it feels.”

James Haydon gave the all new Virgin Media Yamaha R1 and its Pirelli tyres a big thumbs-up after tests at Mallory Park and Croft but struggled at Snetterton when his bike stopped out on the circuit at the start of the final session without completing a lap.

Haydon missed the team’s initial shakedown test at Croft when his wife Jo gave birth to their second child six weeks earlier than expected.

But he clocked over 200 laps at Croft two weeks ago and was impressed with the package but just needs more time to adapt to the Pirellis.


Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin