Ten Kate Honda Test Report
Jonathan Rea and Max Neukirchner have declared themselves ready for the opening of the 2010 World Superbike championship next weekend after completing a successful test at Phillip Island in Australia.
The Hannspree Ten Kate Honda pair spent two days preparing their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade machines for the first of 13 rounds at the 4.45km circuit near Melbourne.
Rea, who topped the timing sheets in the last pre-season test at Portimao in Portugal heads into his second World Superbike championship year in buoyant form, having taken two wins in his debut season. The youngster from Northern Ireland, who celebrated his 23rd birthday earlier this month, set the fifth fastest time over the two days with a lap of 1’32.175s.
Neukirchner, meanwhile, has enjoyed his return to full fitness after an injury-plagued 2009. The 26-year-old German – already a World Superbike race winner – is looking forward to getting back to winning ways during 2010 with his new Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team.
Jonathan Rea Speaks… 5th – best time 1’32.175s
"It’s been a really good test and we’ve been able to work toward a good race setting for next weekend, which I’m really looking forward to. We’ve also been trying to get the bike to work as conservatively with the tyres as we can, but I was third quickest in this afternoon’s final session, which isn’t so bad. The main issue here has been me, and getting myself re-acquainted with this circuit – it’s getting there, but it’s taken the full two days and I’m still working on the last sector. There’s still a lot of work to do, both for me and the team, but we’ve got a couple of days to relax and think about it, and we’ll come back on Friday refreshed and ready to go."
Max Neukirchner Speaks… 10th – best time 1’32.691s
"I have to admit that I was happier yesterday than I am today. There was some rain this morning and it was a bit windier, but the temperature was similar and grip levels were OK this morning. In the second session, I had a small crash; the bike wasn’t too bad and I was OK, but there was not much time after that and, when I went out again, the grip level had dropped. We tested a lot of things today to try and find a good set-up for next weekend, but we didn’t find it yet. Still we have some more things to try on Friday. I am feeling really fit and well – probably fitter than I have ever been – and I’ve enjoyed some surfing and training since arriving here in Australia. Everything is working well with my new team and it’s good to be back on a Honda in this championship. I cannot wait now for the season to start – it’s not long to go."
Ronald ten Kate Speaks… Team Manager
"We’ve been working quite hard during these two days. Our base setting has been working pretty well at previous tests, but we’ve to change quite a bit to get the bike going properly here. On day one we went around in circles a bit, but we’ve made some more progress today. It’s certainly not perfect, but we’ve still got next weekend to go after that. Tyre life has been not so bad and although we haven’t quite got the maximum out of the softer tyre, we are getting more consistency at race pace."
World Superbike Test Times Phillip Island
1. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’31.650; 2. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’31.662; 3. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’31.680; 4. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’31.959; 5. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.175; 6. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’32.247; 7. Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’32.279; 8. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F 1’32.474; 9. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1’32.621; 10. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 1’32.691; 11. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.714; 12. Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’32.781; 13. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.819; 14. Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’32.830 15. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’32.869; 16. Vermeulen C. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’32.870