There are still two weeks to go until the next World SBK race, scheduled for Donington from 15 to 17 July, but the riders are not standing idle. Those from Honda took advantage of the Misano circuit to complete two days of testing.
Or rather, only Iker Lecuona was able to get on his CBRR-R because Xavi Vierge is still recovering after the operation on his right hand, but he was still present on the track, giving his support from the garage. HRC tester Tetsuta Nagashima, who will race the 8 Hours of Suzuka together with Lecuona and Takumi Takahashi, came to help with the tests.
The good weather helped complete the work scheduled, which included tests on the electronics, setup and balance of the bike.
“After spending one day at Donington last week, which was very useful as I had the chance to experience this beautiful and fun, albeit very challenging track, we came here to Misano for two more days of testing, and I’m very pleased with how it’s gone – declared Lecuona – We worked our way through our test plan, and everything went smoothly, without any issues. The team did a very good job, Xavi was also here, with “Tetsu” Nagashima on the other side of the garage as well as quite a few Japanese engineers who came from the factory to see for themselves.”
“Having Tetsu here was important because he is an official HRC test rider in Japan and was able to personally take part in the testing and share the track with me and other WorldSBK riders – he continued - It has been challenging in such hot and humid conditions, but we can be satisfied because I think we are continuing to improve. We completed two long runs and the feeling with the bike in the hot weather was pretty good, our race pace better compared to the recent round we had here. In general, I think we did a very good job over the two days. Now I feel a bit tired of course, but I’m happy and ready for the next step, with the Donington round coming up in a couple of weeks’ time.”
As mentioned, Vierge had to settle for the role of observer.
“I’ve had mixed feelings here because of course I wanted to ride but, having had surgery recently, we thought it was best to avoid any risk. But I came along anyway because this is my first year in WorldSBK and I have never had the chance to watch the action trackside, and it can be very interesting – he explained - So we decided I would attend and it’s been very interesting to listen to the comments of “Tetsu” and Iker, to understand the different settings they are trying and to watch them and other riders in action to understand more in an attempt to continue improving. So I’m happy to have been here at Misano and I made the most of the weather, doing some training on my bicycle. I feel my condition’s improving day by day and this is very positive. And of course, it’s always nice to spend time with my team in the garage, even if it’s not in my usual role.”
For Nagashima, it was his first contact with Europe.
“It’s been a really good experience for me because I’ve had the chance to understand the bike, the Pirelli tyres and the feeling with the CBR here at Misano. We completed a run with Iker today, I followed him and was better able to understand where we need to improve on the bike. I test the CBR in Japan and so this experience was very useful in that we could collect more direct information and also exchange opinions with Iker and Xavi. We worked very hard over these two days. The lap times were not too bad in the end, and the race simulation was also promising. We’ll keep working hard in Japan and I hope this will help the team and both Xavi and Iker. I wish to thank Honda for this great opportunity; I really enjoyed being here.”