2012 World Superbike Prep
The Honda World Superbike duo of Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama wrapped up a three-day test Friday at Phillip Island, Australia.
Both World SBK riders had clear conditions throughout the three-day test, the two experimenting with a new chassis and suspension on the CBR1000R Fireblade. The team also continued the development of the electronic "Ride-by-Wire" throttle system that was introduced in 2011 World Superbike after the FIM permitted the device legal.
The 2012 World Superbike Championship will be the Northern Irishman Rea’s fourth season with Honda; the 2009 250cc MotoGP Champion Aoyama joins Rea following two years on the San Carlo Honda Gresini MotoGP Team.
Although no lap times were released by team manager Ronald ten Kate, he reported being very satisfied with the development of the new machine.
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike CBR1000RR) says: "We’ve had a good three days, completed a lot of laps and tested a whole heap of new parts. We’ve also done quite a few long runs and race simulations which, to be honest, was really good – for the simulation we did today, we even used the lights!
"The full race-run allows us to see exactly where we are, even though the disadvantage of testing on your own is that you’ve got no-one to measure yourself against. But the whole team is working really well and I’m really enjoying riding the bike again. Step-by-step we’re making things better and, although when you test this many parts you can end up going round in circles, I think we’ve got a bike with a good base setting to go into the 2012 season with."
Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike CBR1000RR) says: "I’ve really enjoyed the first test of the season on the new 2012 bike. I had some good feelings from the test in Qatar in December, but the feeling here at Phillip Island was quite different.
"We had to do a lot of work on the first two days but I learned a lot and on each day the feeling got better. We did a race simulation today and it was very interesting to experience the deterioration of the tire. We need to make some more steps and, if we can do that, it’ll be an exciting race next month! For sure, I need to ride a lot more to try to learn the bike and the tires because everything is still very new. I’m sure I will need a couple of races to get familiar with everything."
Ronald ten Kate (Honda World Superbike Team Manager) says: "We had high track temperatures here, which is something we struggled with during last year’s event, so it was a very useful test. The new chassis and suspension parts that we brought here were all working well and we were able to reconfirm some of the parts we tested before.
"The overall package as part of the 2012 Fireblade is definitely a step forward and the new fairing has improved stability. It was properly tested too, because there was a strong wind coming up the straight on the first day! With both riders, the bike has been able to give them a single fast lap time, but the race simulations we did today were also encouraging. We can pack up tonight with a good feeling and we still have another month to come up with some more ideas back at the workshop. But, honestly, we couldn’t have wished for more from this test."
Rea and Aoyama will be at the first official test of World Superbike Feb. 20-21 at Phillip Island before the 14-round championship begins at the same track Feb. 26.