First day of SBK testing in Barcelona and also first outing for the HRC team after the break for the coronavirus. The Honda team had not tested two weeks ago in Misano and therefore today's laps on the Montmelò circuit were, in fact, the first of the "new season".
It will officially start again in August with the Jerez weekend, but there are those who are already thinking about next year at HRC. We are talking about Leon Haslam who does not yet have a contract for 2021, just like Bautista, and who could be ousted by the team due to the domino effect caused by Pol Espargarò's move into the official MotoGP team. The current KTM rider will become Marc Marquez's teammate by relegating the brother of the eight-time world champion to Lucio Cecchinello's team. At this point Cal Crutchlow could be left without a place and a glimmer of hope in SBK could open up for him, in place of Haslam.
"In my mind this is a three year project, but the decision to remain or not in this team is not up to me - Leon told us at the end of the test day - I have been to Suzuka five or six times for development and there is still a lot to do. Now I have to keep working on the bike and pushing hard when I'm on the track; apart from today I have been faster than Bautista in every session, but these decisions are not up to me. For now, we have not yet spoken, I can only try to do my best ".
As said by Leon himself, today his Honda set a higher time than that of his teammate and in the morning, Haslam was also the protagonist of a nasty highside.
“I was pushing hard with used tyres and when I got on the gas the bike reared up and I had a big highside. I was a bit annoyed at the time because it was all my mistake, I thought I broke my ankle but luckily after a few minutes I was better. "
How do you judge this first day riding the CBR1000RR-R?
"It was a positive day, in the afternoon I managed to try the second bike where there were still things from Phillip Island. We haven't made any major changes; we are trying to pick up the pace and solve some problems that we had in Australia. Tomorrow I hope to be closer to the Kawasaki, who tested here at the beginning of last February, and to Scott ".
Can we expect performances similar to those seen in Australia on other circuits? How much of that weekend was the uniqueness of the track or your feelings on that track?
“Our potential is really high. We need time because we have a new bike and a new team. Lots of little things make a good package and that's what we're trying to do. Lap times are always better and therefore I am very positive ”.
Alvaro told us that from the next Aragon test you will focus on some new stuff, can you tell us something more?
"The new components are a little bit about everything, the bike is totally adjustable, we have to create the right balance to go stronger. Everything has its pros and cons and trying everything here would have been impossible. With each test we always have something new, there is always a new direction to try and the difficult thing is to find time for everything. "