The team’s 2013 all-British rider line-up of Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea spent the final testing opportunity of the year with new chassis components and a completely revised electronics package for the CBR1000RR Fireblade racing machines.
Rea, who won two World Superbike races during the 2012 season, concentrated on the new electronics package on Monday, starting at a relatively slow pace before he and his crew began to fine-tune the system today.
Haslam, meanwhile, continued to familiarise himself with the CBR for the first time in three years, making a variety of set-up changes before he and Rea took part in a race simulation at the end of the day, when Haslam set his fastest time.
We had a good day today and we made some really good steps forward which have given me a much better balance with the bike now. I didn’t get a chance to really push for a time at the end because I felt a small vibration in the bike, but it felt pretty good and the race simulation that Johnny and I did together at the end was good fun. We’ve been working just on chassis improvements because I’ve been using the old engine and electronics. It’ll be good to get the new stuff because we need a little more work on power delivery, but I’m really happy with progress so far. I’m looking forward to the Christmas break, which I’ll spend in the UK with a six-days-a-week training programme before maybe a bit of sun somewhere in the New Year.
I haven’t ridden at Jerez for about ten years, and that was on a 125, but it’s a really fun circuit and I like riding here. I was only doing installation laps with the new electronics so didn’t get a chance to really push with it. But the initial impressions are good, with a better feel in the fuel mapping and throttle control. I’ve got a new data engineer in Ronnie Schagen, who I worked with in World Supersport, and we’re working well together, which I’m happy about, too. We tried quite a lot of other things on the bike, changing the balance and so on, and when we put a bit of grip into the bike it feels pretty good. But I’m definitely looking forward to testing here again in January when we should have the full engine and electronics package.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
Leon continued making a number of settings changes during the day and he was able to keep continuing to improve, even in the race sim which finished the test for us. Jonathan, of course, is much more familiar with the Fireblade, so the options to try new settings are not so great! However, we took a step forward with his throttle control, so that was positive. We only did three or four runs on the new electronics today and there is a lot more to come from the package. In the end, we didn’t go with the softer tyre that other riders used at the end and the guys were less than a tenth of a second apart, so we are satisfied with the results of this test.