Crash.Net BSB News
Baz, Westmoreland gear up for Motorpoint test
17 March 2011
Rob McElnea is confident his Motorpoint Yamaha team starts in the 'best shape' yet as it prepares to make its 2011 British Superbike testing debut at Cadwell Park.
The team will feature an all-new rider line-up in 2011, with former European Superstock 600 champion Loris Baz joining full-time following his three outings at the end of last season, and British Supersport runner-up James Westmoreland stepping up to Superbikes.
Though the duo did test the R1 towards the end of 2010 in Spain, the trip to Cadwell Park will mark Motorpoint's first 2011 appearance.
For Baz, who hasn't visited Cadwell Park before, it is an opportunity to get better acquainted with the bike he performed well on at the end of the 2010 BSB season.
“It seems a long time since I have been on my bike and I can't wait to get to Cadwell Park,” the Frenchman said. “I have never seen the track but it is very famous for its jump so should be fun. For me the British Championship is incredible, the teams and riders are world class and I really want to learn the tracks quickly so I can fight for good position with the Motorpoint team.”
“I have never been this focused and motivated to start a season,” added Westmoreland. “The test in Spain was ideal as it gave me a good feeling of the bike and lots to ponder over the winter before we get back on, ideal planning really and now we start serious next week at Cadwell and I can't wait.”
A series of misfortunes have struck the Motorpoint Yamaha team in recent years, not least in 2010 when the high-profile return of Neil Hodgson ended with him retiring after just one event.
Nonetheless, McElnea has high hopes for his youthful line-up (Baz 18, Westmoreland 22) and the ability of a factory-backed Yamaha R1.
“We start 2011 in the best shape we have ever been. Our understanding of the Yamaha R1 is at a much better level and our two young riders are very hungry and motivated.
“Loris stepped into the battle ground last season and really shook up the establishment, so with a full season ahead of him we really should see some sparks. James starts the season as a Superbike 'rookie' and I am confident that he will make a serious impression and be one of the best young guns in the series.
“My team is highly motivated after a couple of tough seasons. We need 2011 to be the year we get amongst the front runners - we have continued backing from Motorpoint, Node 4 and FJG logistics all have supported us through the tough season and are ready to have some fun this year!
“Two young, motivated riders, a fully sorted factory Yamaha and a revitalised team in the engine room… We are more than due a good season.”
Motorpoint Yamaha will launch its 2011 campaign officially 25th March.