The 2006 World Superbike championship begins on Thursday, February 23rd with practice and qualifying for the first round at Losail in Qatar, and the Yamaha team are confident.
The main Yamaha Motor Italia team of Noryuki Haga and Andrew Pitt has tested twice at the 5.4km circuit over the winter break as the duo work on improving traction and rideability of the R1 over race distance. This includes positive feedback on the new Magneti Marelli engine management system.
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In 2006 Haga won two races, and outscored eventual champion Troy Corser in the second half of the season.
"It is hard for me to say if I can win the title or not because we have still not tested with our rivals. We have made some good tests in Qatar and the bike is stronger than last year," said haga. "It looks like Yamaha has been able to make the improvements i asked for at the end of last year and it is still me target to win the title."
Also riding for Yamaha will be the second distributor-backed squad of yamaha motor france with Norick Abe, Sebastien Gimbert and Shinichi Nakatomi. While in World Supersport, Yamaha Motor Germany will field Kevin Curtain and Broc Parkes among 15 riders on Yamaha R6 bikes.