Rob Mac Racing began their preparations for the 2009 British Superbike Championship by conducting their first test of the year at Donington Park.
The team, which will swell in 2009 to include three Superbike riders and one Supersport competitor, used the test as an opportunity to get acquainted with the new Yamaha R1 bikes they will campaign over the season.
With Superbike riders Michael Rutter, Chris Walker and Graeme Gowland all getting the chance to sample the bike for the first time, each came back to the garage with nothing but substantial praise for the Yamaha.
"What an amazing bike,” Rutter, who will race under NW200 Coca-Cola colours in 2009, said. “The very first run on a new bike is always a bit nervy, the hype around this bike has added more pressure and I am really impressed with the first feeling. We have lots of miles to do now and the hard work will start, but first impressions mean a lot and I am very happy."
Having watched Ben Spies cruise to victory on his and the bike's World Superbike debut at the weekend, Walker added 'awesome' to Rutter's 'amazing'
"I have been waiting for that for a long time. That bike is gorgeous. We heard the hype and have seen Ben Spies in action but to get on our own bike and feel the engine first hand is awesome. Since joining up with Rob I have been totally committed to his team and the 2009 championship. That first ride has given me even more determination. I can't wait."
Gowland too was delighted with his first run, adding that this year's bike is a substantially different machine to the one it is replacing.
"I can't stop smiling! To tell you the truth I was pretty nervous about my first ride, I have only tested the 2008 bike for one hour and it left me a bit scarred. It was a beast and I was expecting something similar but how wrong I was. The new R1 is unbelievable and I cannot stop grinning. Rob's team have put together a great bike and I am so excited about the season."
An important day for team boss Rob McElnea, he is excited about the potential from both the bike and the team in 2009.
"Today was all about the guys just basically acquainting themselves with their bikes. The day went perfectly and they are all beaming with smiles, the brand-new, revolutionary R1 totally amazed our Superbike riders and gave my back-room team a major sense of achievement and relief.