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The ePayMe Yamaha team will make their MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship debut this weekend (April 8/9/10) at Silverstone as John Hopkins and Stuart Easton line up for the opening race of the season in Northamptonshire.
The team have been working hard over the winter in preparation for their debut in the UK's premier motorsport series and following the most recent test at Silverstone last week, both American Hopkins and Scot Easton are looking forward to getting the season underway on the YZF-R1s at one of the fastest circuits on the calendar.
Hopkins narrowly missed out on the title in 2011 against new team manager Tommy Hill and the Californian is relishing the potential of the 2015 title-winning Yamaha, whilst Easton is keen to battle back to the sharp end after recovering from injury at the end of last season.
Hopkins said: "It was a really productive test for us at Silverstone, although the temperature was fairly cool. We have worked through some different areas and the bike felt really good; the chassis works well there with its fast and flowing nature and the throttle delivery suits the track. We were at the top of the times for a bit and we didn't put a new tyre in towards the end of the day like some of the other teams, so I was happy with where we ended up.
"Honestly I feel that I have adapted to the Yamaha straight away and immediately I have felt comfortable on the bike. It had the comfort and throttle connection and everything that felt positive on the bike that I rode last year but the chassis feels like it has a GP feel to it and of course that is what I have spent the majority of my career riding. The potential with the Yamaha is huge and I don't feel like we have even began to scratch the surface with it, but as the season goes on and we have more track time we are going to get stronger and stronger. That is a really positive thing that we are so far towards the front already despite our lack of testing compared to the other riders. I think we should be right there from round one.
"I definitely feel in a good position for the first round and the recent test has got me even more excited for the first round. We have an awesome base setting, the bike is working well and we feel ready to get underway. I feel we will be ready to be in a good position from the get go."
Easton said: "We had a few little glitches during the test at Silverstone that cost us some time, which was a shame as we had quite a few areas we wanted to work on, but that is what testing is for and we would rather these things happened then rather than at round one. There are certainly areas of the bike already that shine through, but I just haven't quite had the chance to have a good stab at it yet and testing isn't really any kind of indication from my side that is for sure!
"We have learnt a lot so far, even in the short time we have been testing so that is really promising already and I feel that there is so much more to come. The pre-season has been about me adjusting to the Yamaha and getting comfortable and now we move into the first weekend and looking for the best results possible. I am definitely ready to come and play catch up after losing some time last week and I know that we will be in a position ready for raceday come Sunday to do the best job we can."
Team manager Tommy Hill commented: "This is the really exciting part now as we countdown to our first race event as the ePayMe Yamaha team. It was quite overwhelming to see John at the top of the times at a point during last week's test at Silverstone and we didn't have to put a new tyre in to make it happen. He is feeling really confident and happy, and that is what I want from our riders this season.
"We know that Stuart still has a few areas he wants to work on this weekend to make him even more comfortable with the Yamaha, but we have looked at everything after the recent test and we have a good idea on what we need to focus on, starting on Friday in free practice.
"I am proud to see that everything has come together and how well the team have been working at our recent tests and that makes me even more excited for the weekend. We have had a great reception so far as we prepare for our debut race and we want to do the best job we can to showcase all of our partners."
Last updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2016