Top WSB teams ready for South Africa test

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WSB’s top teams will kick off testing for the 2009 season at Kyalami on Wednesday for what promises to be the most competitive season of racing in recent years.

Xerox Ducati, Ten Kate Honda, Alstare Suzuki, Yamaha Italia, BMW and Aprilia will all be present at the test providing a first look at next year’s rider line-up and teams.

Noriyuki Haga will make his first appearance onboard the Xerox Ducati with the task of getting reacquainted to a Ducati and prove that he is a worthy replacement for triple world Champion, Troy Bayliss. Haga will be joined by Italian team-mate Michel Fabrizio on updated 2009 factory 1098’s.

Ten Kate Honda will field three riders with Jonathon Rea joining 2008 riders Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari. With no model change at Honda the three men will arrive at the test with an already proven package with the aim fine tuning their package and learning the Kyalami circuit, which was last used in WSB in 2002.

Alstare Suzuki arrive straight from their initial shakedown test at Phillip Island in Australia last week. Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama will ride the all-new 2009 specification Suzuki GSXR-1000 making the three-day South African test invaluable for development.

Yamaha Italia face one of the biggest challenges with an all-new Yamaha R1 and an all new rider line-up. Britain Tom Sykes and American Ben Spies have already completed one test onboard the new bike in Portugal after the Parkalgar race in November and like Suzuki will have a lot of development work to do to get their new bike up to speed.

BMW have been testing the S1000R all year, but their 2009 rider line-up of Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus have only ridden the bike once. Their test in Valencia went well and the German factory now has data and feedback from their 2009 riders and will arrive at the test with a host of new electronic set-up and components to evaluate.

It will be the first time the BMW has made a public appearance and the first time they’ve been on track with the rest of the factory WSB teams.

Like BMW, Aprilia have been developing all year with Max Biaggi having already ridden the bike twice at Valencia and Parkalgar. New signing Shinya Nakano tested at Valencia two weeks ago giving the Italian team the basic set-up preferences for the two riders and the new RSV4.

The test runs from Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th December. MCN will be in South Africa bringing you news and lap times throughout the three days.

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Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider