2011 World Superbike Honda PrepAfter Ruben Xaus and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) put down strong pre-season markers at the recent Word Superbike tests at Portimao, both WSBK riders were understandably pleased at progress – Xaus with his new superbike and team, Rea with his physical recovery after some suffering some nasty late season injuries to his wrist and shoulder.
Xaus was in an ebullient mood; understandable after topping the time sheets despite the rainy superbike track conditions. Ruben Xaus (Ten Kate Honda Superbike CBR1000RR) says: "In Spanish, we have some different words for ‘happy.’ There is ‘contento’, and then there is ‘feliz’, which is what I am. Yes, I am really, really, happy! From the very first moment at this test, the team, my new team-mate and the bike are all incredible. It’s like we got an ‘A’ in an exam, and now we are looking for an A+." "I would, of course, have like some dry time on the bike – maybe even just 10 or 15 laps – but it was the same for everybody, and they all did many laps, too."Rea, who set very few laps, was nonetheless back to a good overall pace from the start of the test to its premature end. Jonathan Rea (Ten Kate Honda Superbike CBR1000RR) says: "During the whole two-day test we really didn’t have any dry conditions, although there was maybe one 20 minute window when we might have gone out with a slick/intermediate combination." "But I got back up to pace pretty much straight away on day one and, although we had a heap of things we wanted to test, you really need to be on record pace to test them properly."It was a good test despite the bad conditions for the Ten Kate Honda World Superbike team manager Ronald Ten Kate. Ron Ten Kate (Ten Kate Honda Team Owner) says: "Jonathan managed to get back up to speed within four or five laps, which really fills us all with confidence. Of course, the conditions didn’t allow us to test very much with him; only about 14 laps on day one, and we know that he is already fast in those conditions." "So we did not do any more as that would just have put his recovery at some risk. Ruben did 114 laps over two days and he ended up as the fastest rider at the test. He spent valuable time getting to know his crew and how he wants things to be on the bike. Everything he asked for we were able to resolve and afterwards he went faster, so it was a very encouraging start for sure."