Positive first test for Walker and Rutter onboard Rob Mac Racing Yamaha

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While their rivals HM Plant Honda, Hydrex Honda and Crescent Suzuki are being battered by high winds during testing in Spain, Rob Mac Racing’s decision to carry out shakedown trials of their new R1 at BSB tracks seems to have been an astute one.

Motorpoint Yamaha duo Chris Walker and Graeme Gowland plus North West 200 Coca Cola Zero rider Michael Rutter shared just one bike at Donington earlier this week but got enough track time each to come away with big smiles.

Team boss Rob McElnea said: "My boys (the team’s technicians) were fairly well stressed, worrying how this first test would go but they need not have worried. All three riders came back really positive."

The Donington track is said to be quite bumpy where it has been patched up since major earthworks started for the new F1 course and the weather was far from ideal, with rain easing to leave a drying track but Rutter got one full run on slicks.

McElnea said: "The boys couldn’t believe the new engine. Rutter said it felt like a Ducati, but smoother (in delivery) and where the v-twin ran out of steam, the Yamaha just keeps pulling. We saw that on the dyno too so were already quietly confident."

McElnea said his team has no plans to test in Spain this winter. His intention is that if the weather holds, the riders are going to get enough track time but still stay hungry – the technicians will be gaining valuable data they can use later in the season, and all three riders will be getting valuable mileage on tracks that in a few weeks time they will be racing on.

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin