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Apr 4, 2013

World Superbike Testing Concludes At Motorland Aragon

FIM Superbike World Championship: Jonathan Rea (65) testing his Pata Honda CBR1000RR Superbike at Motorland Aragon.
Rea and Haslam complete Aragon test

Pata Honda World Superbike riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have completed a three-day test at Motorland Aragon in Spain ahead of next week’s second round World Superbike championship event at the same circuit.

In spite of strong wind and a damp track on the final day, the all-British pairing concentrated on the fine-tuning of a revised electronics system for their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade race machines.

The development will continue at an additional test at the Alcarras circuit 185km west of Barcelona in Spain on Sunday and Monday next week before returning to Aragon.

Leon Haslam

It’s been a frustrating few days actually because we haven’t been able to move the new electronics on from where we were in Australia in the first round. The weather today didn’t help either and there’s a lot more work to do before we’re ready to challenge properly next weekend when we come back to Aragon for round two. Physically, I’m feeling good after the recent operation on the foot I broke last year, so I’m ready to do some more testing before then!

Jonathan Rea

I did a back-to-back comparison with last year’s electronics and it’s easy to see the potential that the new system has. However, the teething problems we had in Australia don’t seem to have gone away so we haven’t got as much out of this test as we wanted. We’ve got another couple of days testing at Alcarras next week, which will be really useful. We’ve also got some good brains working on the system, so we know there’s more to come.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

It’s fair to say that we haven’t been able to progress in the way we would have liked here in Aragon as we are still working on fine-tuning the new electronics. We got a little stuck on Tuesday and Wednesday but today was a little more positive. We discovered some bugs on Wednesday evening and we learned some useful things from Jonathan’s comparison today. We’ll use that to develop the system some more in a two-day test at Alcarras on Sunday and Monday. It’s not a question of ‘if’ this new system will be better, it’s ‘when’. Of course, we’ll work hard to make that as soon as possible.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sykes Quickest Rider In Motorland Tests

Newsflash, 4 April 2013

Tom Sykes and Loris Baz each got what they wanted from their three-day test at Motorland Aragon with Sykes proving he is fast and fit to race while Loris Baz made real improvements in his race set-up.

Sykes set a best lap time of 1’57.2 but of even greater importance he proved that he had largely recovered from the broken left wrist and three broken ribs he picked up in a crash shortly before the first round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship in Australia in late February.

Tom did a high number of laps during this Spanish test, which started on 2 April, working on new components for the chassis and some engine improvements as part of the overall KHI development programme on the official factory Ninja ZX-10R.
Baz, who has recently ridden a World Endurance spec machine, got back on his full KRT SBK bike and boosted his confidence yet again. He found good improvements in his front suspension and expects to find more from the rear come race weekend.

The first two days of testing at Motorland were held in dry conditions, with the strong opening day winds reducing on day two. A wet track to start on the final day cut down the available testing time, then track action was halted for the last time just after 3pm, following another bout of rain.
The second round of the championship takes place back at Motorland Aragon, with raceday on Sunday 14th April.

Tom Sykes: “I think that my wrist is about 80% and my ribs 98% back to normal, so that was good. I was able to ride the bike again without too many limitations. We had some rain in the final afternoon but we had already finished just about everything we had wanted to do at the end of the second day. We were going to do a couple of long runs on two different settings today but the rain interrupted that. We have put a lot of laps on our tyres here and we still have all of race weekend to check out the final tyre situation for raceday. This test has also brought us some benefits in performance.”

Loris Baz: “The test went really well for us, although I was not fighting for a lap time, just for improved consistency. I tried to improve my feeling with this track and we made a big step with the front end. We wanted to concentrate on the rear grip today but it started to rain early in the afternoon, so we did not try everything we wanted. But what we did try was a big improvement. We had some new suspension parts, on the forks, and they gave me good support in the front. I go into corners with quite a lot of brake so I need that. I also made a step using a qualifying set-up.”

Crew Chief for Tom Sykes, Marcel Duinker: “It was a good test for us. We tested some things on the chassis and had some engine updates. We found our speed straight away because we know this track so well, and within a few laps Tom was doing low 1’59s. We knew that the weather on the third day might have disturbed our test programme so from the first day onwards we got through all our items. We built our best package to try some long runs on day three but unfortunately we got interrupted a bit by the rain. I believe we are already strong on the chassis and engine so, let’s say, it looks like we got to where I hoped we would.”

Crew Chief for Loris Baz, Pere Riba: “The test was helpful because we have been preparing some points to improve and had some parts to test. We also confirmed the set-up we used in Australia. Also, Loris had come from riding another specification of bike, testing for Endurance racing, so the official SBK bike is a little different. But he got the feel for our bike again quite quickly. It was disappointing to find some rain on the final day because we still had some things to test but I can say that it was still a positive test.”