A sixth time that leaves a bitter taste in Leon Haslam's mouth in these Portimao tests. The former Kawasaki rider was better than Bautista when it comes to the time trial, but he probably had other goals. Bautista had to balance the bike, collect data, and not tip his hand too much. Haslam had the same goals, but he was able to push a bit more.
"We did several laps these days," the former Kawasaki rider stated. "I made some progress, and it was a very interesting day."
What tests did you do today? Especially with the tires.
“I also worked on that today. I'm very happy with how the bike behaved with the race tires. I also tried the softer compound in the afternoon, which allowed me to improve my best lap by about two tenths. I haven't been able to improve with those as much as the others have but, overall, the times haven't been bad. I'm satisfied, especially because we had two entire days without rain, and that was important."
Alvaro ended the two days in 21st position. Are you all worried in the garage?
“He wasn't fast last year either in the first tests with Ducati, then,once the season started, he won 16 races. Alvaro has a lot of experience, and he's getting to know this bike, just like me. We're in a training period. I feel that the team knows the direction we need to follow."
The next tests will be in Phillip Island, close to the first round of the season. What kind of a track is it for you, and what could the new CBR reveal there?
“Phillip Island is truly a unique track. I think I raced there with six different bikes, and it was different each time. I can't wait to go there, so I can also have a different perspective on the bike. Alvaro was always very fast. He was one of the top four in the MotoGP, and he obviously has a lot of confidence with that track. I 'm really very curious about those tests and, honestly, I feel that, step-by-step, we're getting closer to where we want to be."
So just a few more days to improve and change something on the bike. At what point are you?
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, of course, and we're still not at that point in the development where the finishing touches are applied to the set up because we're still testing some fundamental components. I can't wait to go to Phillip Island. It's one of my favorite tracks. The tests there will be very important and, after my goals for the race weekend, we'll have to try to be competitive from the start."
Article in collaboration with Marco Caregnato