2011 World Superbike
For the first time since fracturing his wrist at Misano, World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea piloted his Honda CBR1000RR this week during a private Castrol Honda test at Assen.
The two-day test wrapped up on Tuesday in the Netherlands, with clear skies allowing Rea, teammate Ruben Xaus and Rea’s replacement at Brno and Silverstone World Superbike, Alex Lowes, to work on further setting up the CBR1000RR.
During the test, Rea was able to ride with his recovering wrist, the Irishman reporting he was happy with the WSBK test results.
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda CBR1000 RR Superbike) says: “We didn’t get to test very much today because of the weather, which restricted us to a patchy track this morning before it got wet again. But even those laps were useful to find a good wet setting which we have lacked this season.
“Yesterday was really good, though, and I was so happy to get back on the bike again. The lap time was quite OK, which was a good confidence booster, and my wrist felt strong. My body certainly knows I’ve done a lot of riding, so I’ll concentrate on some conditioning work over the next week or two. Bu t I’ve really enjoyed riding again and now I can’t wait for Nurburgring, which is somewhere I’ve had some success in the past.”
Rea’s teammate also continues to recover, the Spaniard suffering from back injuries due to a race-one crash at Brno. Castrol Honda says the Spaniard felt some pain in his back, and was only able to complete a couple of laps; Xaus sat out Tuesday’s second and final testing session due to his condition.
Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda CBR1000 RR Superbike) says: “It was good to ride again, and my speed and lap times yesterday were not bad considering that I was really only able to ride at 80%. However, I could only do a few laps before my back became too uncomfortable to ride any more. I decided it would be too much to ride today as well and I don’t think I would have learned any more because it was too wet. My injuries have improved but there is still some more improvement to find.”
Lowes also completed many laps during the two-day WSBK test, experimenting with new settings aboard the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
Alex Lowes (Castrol Honda CBR1000 RR Superbike) says: “To be honest, I was a little down when I left Silverstone because we struggled to find a setting there and the weekend ended in a crash. I went out at Assen yesterday and we made a couple changes, which gave me a really good feeling again and I was immediately able to lap quite close to the tim es I set here when I tested after Brno. We did some more work in the wet as well today and I really feel comfortable on the bike now.”
Ronald ten Kate (Castrol Honda Superbike) says: “This was an important test to get Jonathan back on the bike and to find a good rhythm again and, from that point of view, it was very successful. We got through a lot of work yesterday but, unfortunately, the second day was wet. Even so, we’ve been working hard and used some new settings that gave Jonathan a lot of confidence.
“Ruben did not feel so good and could only do short stints on the bike, so he clearly needs some more time to recover from his Brno injuries. Alex got through a lot of work and did some good stuff, particularly on wet settings, so we’ll get busy now preparing for Nurburgring, which we’re really looking forward to.”
The Castrol Honda Team will now begin prepping for Round 10 of 12 in the 2011 World Superbike Championship at Nurburgring, Germany, which is set for Sept. 2-4.
Photos courtesy of Henk Teerink