Yamaha's 2005 World Superbike championship campaign got underway today when new signing Andrew Pitt completed 75 laps in a shakedown test on an R1 at Valencia in Spain.

The 28-year-old will race the machine for Yamaha Motor Italia in the Japanese company's first official entry in the championship since the 2000 season.

Pitt rode for the same team in the final three rounds of this year's World Supersport championship, a series he won for Kawasaki in 2001 before moving with 'team green' to MotoGP. The Australian's team-mate has yet to be announced, but is expected to be six-times 2004 race winner Noriyuki Haga.

"It's been a really positive start for us," said Pitt. "We all expected to have to deal with a few gliches today but surprisingly we got in a lot of laps without any problems at all. It's the first day with a new bike and new tyres so you're just trying to learn as much as possible.

"We're all happy because we thought it would be a harder day but we were able to make good progress working on the mapping and playing around with the suspension a bit," he added. "Even now I'm confident that we'll have a good bike at the start of the season. It's really exciting to be involved with this project and working with the Yamaha Motor Italia team again."

"Everything has gone surprisingly well today," confirmed team coordinator Massimo Meregalli. "We started at 10 o'clock this morning because always on the first day you expect little things to be not working properly, but we had no problems at all.

"We expected to come here with a new bike and start very slowly, but actually our speed has been ok, although the point of this test is to work on making Andrew comfortable on the bike and to gain as much data as possible to help us with our development work.

"This bike is nothing like the one we expect to use next season. Most of the engine parts we are using are 2004 Yamaha kit parts and a lot of the parts are still standard, like the pistons and swingarm, which is only slightly modified version of the stock one," concluded the Italian.

Pitt and Yamaha Motor Italia will spend a further two days at Valencia before heading back to their Milan base to further develop the R1s.



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