Honda pair conclude three-day test at Phillip Island
HONDA'S World Superbike team completed their first test after the winter ban, with Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama lapping the Phillip Island circuit.
The team tested a host of new chassis and suspension components for the new 2012 CBR1000RR Fireblade and continued with their ongoing development of the electronic ride-by-wire throttle system introduced in the second half of the 2011 World Superbike campaign.
Rea starts his fourth season on the Fireblade and, following an injury-blighted 2011. "We’ve had a good three days, completed a lot of laps and tested a whole heap of new parts," said the 24-year-old Ulsterman, "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."
For 2012 Rea is partnered by Aoyama. The 2009 250cc champion joins the World Superbike team following two years in MotoGP. "I’ve really enjoyed the first test of the season on the new 2012 bike," said Aoyama, "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 tyre. 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 tyres because everything is still very new. I’m sure I will need a couple of races to get familiar with everything."
Despite no lap times were released by the team, manager Ronald ten Kate declared himself very satisfied with the development of the new machine. He added: "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."
The Honda team will be back at Phillip Island for the official two-day test from the 20th February, before the opening round of the championship that takes place at the Australian circuit on February 26th. Click here for the 2012 World Superbike calendar.
Posted: 19/01/2012 at 11:06
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