British Superbike star Tommy Hill is flying out to Italy today to test ride the SSP Yamaha R6 World Supersport bike at Vallelunga.
The bike, raced by Kevin Curtain until he was sidelined by injury, was also ridden by Anthony West until he dramatically switched to the Kawasaki MotoGP after signing for the Yamaha team.
But Tommy Hill scotched rumours he was about to leave the Virgin Yamaha team mid-season if the test proved successful and told Motorcyclenews.com: “I don’t know where that sort of talk came from. The test has been arranged through my team boss Rob McElnea and the opportunity is only there because Curtain is injured and they wanted some feedback on the bike.
“I’m not getting a full day of riding anyway. All I’ve got is two 45-minute sessions but I’m going into it with an open mind and looking forward to the chance to add to my experience.”
The last time Tommy Hill raced a 600 of any kind was in 2003 when he won the Virgin Yamaha R6 Cup title but that was with more production-based machinery on control tyres than the fully-tuned supersport machines in the World series. He was also a leading contender in the Junior Superstock 600 class of 2001.
The test is in conjunction with the official FG Sport and Development Pirelli tyre test on the challenging 4.11kms Vallelunga circuit, less than 30kms from the centre of Rome and features 25 of the regular World Supersport riders.
For the rest of the 2007 season there is only one clash with the World Supersport and British Supersport rounds on July 22, 2007 when the World Superbikes are in Brno and British Superbikes are at Mallory Park.