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.