Ten Kate Tests “After School” at Portimao

SBK Homework

Following a weekend of highs and lows for the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team at round two of the World Superbike and Supersport championships at Portimao in Portugal, the team’s riders were back at work yesterday at the circuit.

Despite morning rain restricting testing time to just half an hour before lunch, the Superbike and Supersport teams were able to undertake some worthwhile testing as the 4.592km track dried in the afternoon.

Jonathan Rea worked exclusively on a new electronics package, while his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda SBK teammate, Max Neukirchner, concentrated on efforts to find an optimum balance for his CBR1000RR Fireblade.

Jonathan Rea

"With the rain in the morning we couldn’t do much because the track was so wet. Even so, I went out and did a few laps, but testing a new electronics package in those conditions is pretty scary! After lunch the track dried, although there were still some streams running across parts, and I got to do about 25 laps. The electronics were really good, and I was easily able to match the lap times that I did in the race. I think we’ll roll out the new package at Valencia, so I’m looking forward to that."

Max Neukirchner

"I was happy that we got a chance to make some improvements to the bike’s chassis. It’s still not perfect for me, but it’s now more stable on corner entry, which is where I was having some big problems during the weekend at Portimao. The balance is better now – I don’t have to brake so early and it is a little easier to hold the line. I was able to improve on my best lap in the race and I hope that we can continue this progress when we get to Valencia next week."

Ronald ten Kate – Team Manager

"We managed to get about three hours of testing in yesterday – half an hour in the morning and then two-and-a-half after lunch. We made some progress on both sides of the garage, with Max going faster than his race times and feeling more comfortable with the bike. Jonathan’s times were about the same, but he achieved them without pushing as hard and there were still some streams running across the track."

"The new electronics allowed him more easily to ride the bike fast and even to recover from some mistakes. The Supersport riders were not able to match their race pace but track conditions were not like Sunday and we know that a small change can make a big difference in lap times."

Meanwhile, Ten Kate’s Supersport duo of Kenan Sofuoglu and Michele Pirro also stayed around with the World Superbike (WSBK) riders. The middleweight motorcycle racers tested electronics and a different specification front fork on the CBR600RRs that took Sofuoglu to victory and Pirro to his first World Supersport podium during Sunday’s race.