Before the entire World Superbike grid heads to Phillip Island, Australia, for the second official test Feb. 21-22, Castrol Honda finished a two-day private test on Thursday.
Jonathan Rea completed 102 laps under dry conditions Wednesday at the 4.5-km Superbike track. But on the final day of the Honda Superbike test Thursday Rea didn’t have much luck. The Northern Irishman crashed his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade at Turn 1, and sustained neck pain.
Rea, 24, was taken to the hospital, where a scan was performed. The doctors cleared Rea, but he wasn’t able to continue the Honda Superbike test.
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda Superbike) says: "Everything felt really good yesterday and we did more laps than we’ve done during the whole winter in Europe. This morning it was wet but, when it stopped raining and looked like clearing up, I went out but got off the bike quite quickly at turn one. I hurt my neck a bit but the paramedics insisted on putting me in a brace and taking me to hospital where it took about four hours to get a scan.
"Everything was fine and it was a little frustrating to lose the time today. But yesterday showed that we’re in a pretty good place, so I’m looking forward to some more testing on Monday."
Rea’s World Superbike teammate, Ruben Xaus, was able to adapt to the Castrol Honda CBR1000RR, and enjoyed testing in the dry conditions.
Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda Superbike) says: I’m quite tired actually! I’ve done a lot of laps yesterday and today and this is quite a physical circuit. Combined with trying lots of different things and still a bit of jet-lag, it’s been a tough couple of days. But so far so good, and we’ve had to go through a lot of different things to learn more about the bike and how it behaves in different situations.
"I don’t want to go out and just give it full gas for three fast laps; I want to be able to go fast after a lot of laps, which is really important here. We know which direction we’re going in and we’ll follow that way when we come back on Monday and work a little more on stability through the corner."
Ronald ten Kate (Castrol Honda Team Manager) says: "Well, Jonathan had quite a big off this morning, but everything was fine yesterday and I saw he Tweeted that the bike was ‘jammin’, which is a good thing I think! He was still on full wets this morning, even though the puddles had gone, and when he got back from the hospital it was quite late, so we gave him the rest of the afternoon off!
"Ruben and his crew have been going through a lot of work here because it’s been his first chance to ride the bike properly in dry conditions. They tried a lot of different settings and found a good way to head into the official tests next week."
The first of 13 races will be on Feb. 27 at Phillip Island.