British rider James Toseland is confident that reigning world champion Valentino Rossi will make Yamaha’s factory YZR-M1 an even more formidable package in 2009.
Rossi has been conducting in-depth evaluation of Yamaha’s 2009 prototype in tests at Valencia and Jerez last month, with the complete new bike poised for its track debut on February 5 when testing resumes in Sepang, Malaysia.
After a humiliating defeat at the hands of Ducati and impressive Australian Casey Stoner in 2007, Yamaha responded with 10 victories last season - nine going to Rossi on his way to reclaiming the world title for the first time since 2005.
The YZR-M1 was not only more reliable but it was considerably faster in a straight line, with outright horsepower being a major weakness in 2007.
And now Toseland is eager to benefit from Rossi’s considerable skills when his Tech 3 Yamaha squad receives the ’09 YZR-M1 in Sepang.
The double World Superbike champion told MCN: “One thing that was on the top of my list when I was thinking about signing for Yamaha was having Valentino develop the bike. And having that team that is around him to work on the bike is massive.
To make the changes they did as well as winning the title is quite remarkable and what they do can only help us in our garage. I can’t wait to get on the new bike in Malaysia because I have heard nothing but good things about it from Yamaha and some of the guys in the team.”