A fruitful testing session for Team HRC in ideal conditions at Jerez
Team HRC has completed a very productive test session at the Jerez de la Frontera track in Spain. As it continues to prepare for the 2021 Superbike World Championship, the factory squad was out on track with riders Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 March.
With progress during the January tests having been hindered by unstable weather conditions, the team was pleased to be able to make the most of this week’s sessions, taking advantage of the almost perfect weather conditions.
The Spaniard completed two full days of testing, while the Brit decided to use only half a day on Saturday, keeping the remaining hours for another occasion, considering that test days are limited. Both Bautista and Haslam are satisfied with what has been accomplished at the Spanish circuit, the pair having tested a number of upgrades across all areas of the CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP.
The development work will now continue back at base, before Team HRC returns to the racetrack for the official Dorna testing session in Catalunya on March 31 and April 1.
Just before that, on March 30 at 10.00 CEST, Team HRC will unveil the 2021 CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE SP during a virtual presentation to be broadcast on the Honda Racing Corporation Facebook page and YouTube channels.
Alvaro Bautista 19
“We have done a lot of work over the last two days, taking advantage of two sunny days with no sign of any fog or rain, which unfortunately prevented us from doing any real work on the bike back in January. It was important to complete the entire testing programme, which concerned bike set-up in general and specifics such as braking and electronics, areas in which we concentrated a little more. The session was very useful in providing the information that the engineers need to continue working on the bike back in Japan. I’m very happy with work we have done and I think we now have a clearer idea as to where to focus during the next test”.
Leon Haslam 91
“It’s been a very positive test, especially because last time out we were only able to make about ten laps with the 2021 bike due to the bad weather. So having this day and a half has been very important. We had a long list of things to try, and we’ve been able to get through almost all of it. We’ve found some more consistency and I’m feeling a lot more confident. Now we head to Barcelona with everyone else, where we will be better able to understand where we are and how the bike is working. We only did a half day today as we need to be careful considering the limited test days we have available.”
More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:
Lowes Makes Strong Comeback At Jerez
KRT rider Alex Lowes made his track return with the KRT WorldSBK squad and the new Ninja ZX-10RR at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto between 19 and 20 March, proving his recovery from a recent shoulder injury is almost complete.
Alex suffered a small training accident in February, making his first track outing of the year at this test as much a measure of his physical recovery as an evaluation of new items and settings on the machine.
Lowes passed his personal riding and fitness test with flying colours, setting around 120 laps across two days, maintaining a good pace on race tyres and then a qualifying rear tyre near the end of day two. With this test completed he will now have more time to continue to build full fitness and bike familiarity looking to the start of the season in late May.
The new bike features engine, chassis and aerodynamic advances compared to the previous model, with Lowes and his crew confirming some key items at this test after his long lay-off from riding.
The Jerez track test was undertaken in welcome sunny conditions but a gusting wind presented some challenges at the 4.423km long circuit in the south west of Spain. All things considered, both rider and team were pleased with the positive final outcome and now look forward to the next tests at the end of this month, when Jonathan Rea will join Alex again to complete the 2021 KRT riding line up.
The 2021 WorldSBK calendar includes the confirmation of a supported test for all teams at Montmelo – between March 31 and April 1. The first points-scoring championship race is now taking place at Motorland Aragon between 21-23 May.
Alex Lowes, stated: “I am really happy to be back on the bike for these two afternoons with the team. I was not sure how much I would be able to do with my shoulder but we did a lot of laps – 65 I think on the final day – and I was able to continue the work that we started with the new package in November. This was positive because we did not know if we could be on a good enough pace to start working – but we were. We literally picked up where we left off, the pace was good and we found some positive steps with the bike. Also, with my riding, as I have been focusing in the winter to be smoother on the exit of the corners. It was a really positive test and we ticked all the boxes we had set out for these two days. We are looking forward to the official test now in Montmelo. A big thank you to Kawasaki, KRT and all the team for putting this extra test on for me, after missing two with the injury. I am really happy to get 2021 back underway.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “Alex had not ridden the bike for some time but he was impressive from the second or third lap during his first pit lane exit yesterday. He was straight up to speed. One of the targets of this test was to check his physical condition after his little accident. We soon understood that he was on 99%. The other priority was to check one item with the chassis on the bike, over distance, and this is now done. We made close to 120 laps over these two days. We used a race tyre and a Q tyre at the end of the day and with both race and Q tyre he was the fastest on track. He made a 1’39.6 on a race tyre and a 1’38.9 on a Q. He was fast, consistent and did not complain about any physical limitation. We are right on schedule – on target. We missed some tests but in the end it has not affected us at all. The weather was nice and hot but there was a very strong wind, so that was not ideal. I think the track was not as fast as in November, because the wind was strong and inconsistent, disturbing the riders quite a lot. We still have six days of testing in front of us before the start of the season, so we are confident and looking to the next test in Barcelona.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “The main idea of this test has been, of course, giving the opportunity to Alex to be on the bike after some time out due to a small injury on his shoulder. HRC had booked the track originally so we shared it with them. It was good because we could take a reference from them to understand where we are. Overall, it has been very positive because he feels so comfortable with the bike and he understands how to manage all the performance of the new model Ninja ZX-10RR. He is very committed and immediately arrived at very fast lap times and worked to get the rhythm at a very good pace. We are so happy and now we are ready to go to Montmelo with both our riders and see what situation we are in with the new bike compared to all the others.”