Days before the start of the final pre-season test, Yamaha World Superbike unveiled the livery that Italian Marco Melandri and Ulsterman Eugene Laverty will take into the 2011 World Superbike Championship.
The YZF-R1's and riders leathers are in the traditional Yamaha blue corporate colors, in the absence of any sponsorship. For the past two years, the team has been sponsored by Sterilgarda, an Italian dairy concern. It was in those colors that Ben Spies won the 2009 World Superbike championship.Of the two riders, Laverty has had the more productive pre-season. The 24-year-old finished the most recent test in Portimao, Portugal with the third fastest time, while a less than fit Melandri, 28, was 15th of 16. Melandri was recovering from shoulder surgery late in December and expects to be in better shape for the curtain-raiser.
"It was very important for me so soon after my shoulder operation to be careful and take it easy on the bike," he said. "I came here to focus on seeing the track and learning it along with some more time on the bike. We haven't pushed very hard at all but I'm feeling very comfortable on it despite the discomfort of the shoulder.The Yamaha team will soon head to Phillip Island for the Feb. 21 and 22 test in advance of the Feb. 26-28 WSB season-opener on the picturesque Australian circuit. Phillip Island first appeared on the WSB calendar in 1990 and has run every year since, with the exception of 1993, making it the longest running single event in the championship's history.