Portimao WSBK Test
The Castrol Honda World Superbike Team is heading back to its Netherlands workshop following another frustrating pre-season test at Portimao in Portugal.
Changeable weather conditions at the 4.6km circuit in the Algarve have meant the team’s two riders, Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus, have been unable to test new parts for their Castrol Honda CBR1000RR machines, with Wednesday being the only fully dry day of the test.
It follows two very cold days at Motorland Aragon in Spain last week, when it was low temperatures that prevented much testing work. Fortunately, the team is testing twice at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia before the 2011 World Superbike championship kicks off there on 27 February.
Jonathan Rea (#4 Castrol Honda Superbike) says: "Yeah, it’s been good here at Portimao. We didn’t get the best testing weather – we wanted dry days, really, to try and progress the bike. We had some new things to try and, to be honest, I think we got two sessions, but we were pretty much at the sharp end in both of them.
"In the wet we were really fast as well, so I’m really happy with where we are. I always worry that you might lose some speed or talent over the winter but it hasn’t been the case and we’ve reconfirmed that my wrist is perfect and my shoulder’s good. It’s exactly what I needed before I head off to Australia on Tuesday where my trainer’s meeting me to get some sunshine and get me properly prepared."
Ruben Xaus (#111 Castrol Honda Superbike) says: "The weather’s been strange here – rain then stop, rain then stop – so it’s been difficult for us to work. It’s hard to concentrate and the conditions haven’t really been like a race weekend.
"But at least we got 50 or 60 dry laps so I’ve learned a lot from the bike and from the guys. They’ve taught me how to do some things and Johnny (Rea) also taught me some steps. Slowly, we made some progress and overall I’m quite satisfied because although conditions were very difficult here, I’ve seen something of the bike and I can go home, relax and think about where I need to put in the effort from my side.
"Despite all this, I think it’s one of my best starts to a season from a physical and motivational point of view. As a package, the team looks really great, everybody works together on both sides of the garage, so let’s go to Australia and enjoy ourselves with the kangaroos!"
Ronald ten Kate (Castrol Honda Team Manager) says: "Well, our winter testing has given us either a lot of rain or very cold weather. Luckily enough we have two extra days for testing at Phillip Island before the official test there.
"It might be too much to say it’s crucial, but it’s certainly really important because here we haven’t really stepped forward from what we were running at the end of last year. We haven’t really tested anything new on the bike yet, so at Phillip Island we’ll know if we’ve made some progress.
"Despite the conditions being cold and wet for our European tests, we’ve still run at the front of the field, which at least gives us a bit of confidence, but we’ll see in Australia where we really are."