I arrived at the circuit at 12:30 and signed on.
When I found our garage the team had the bike ready and waiting for me to take it on the track so I put my new leathers on and went out for the last 10 minutes of the 1000 stock session as this was the last session before lunch.
The bike worked fine using a set of old tyres from last year.
My mechanics asked if all was OK and did I want to change any settings (it had been set up with their best guess on settings and the bike had changed dramatically from how we ran it at Cartagena last year) I said no leave it as is I need to get myself ‘up to speed’ first.
In the afternoon I went out again using the old tyres and slowly got up to a respectable lap time although by the end of the 30 minute session I was suffering slightly with arm pump which was very disappointing has I had surgery on both arms over the winter to try and prevent it.
My right arm was suffering most from arm pump due we thought from the sleeve being too tight on my forearm so we removed the body armour from around the elbow and lowered part of the sleeve ready for the next session on track. After looking at the data from the previous session we changed a few settings in the front front forks, fitted some fresh ‘old tyres’ and new EBC brake pads. I went out again pushing a bit harder to see what lap time we could achieve.
The team timed me and the other riders to see what our pace was like. Luckily the suspension changes and the new brake pads had made the bike better and apart from the lack of rear grip the bike seemed to be working well and our lap time was competitive especially as we were still running on old tyres…
That was the end of the first day and we were happy with the progress.
We swapped the oil in the engine for some fresh Silkolene 5w40 which the bike had ran faultlessly on all last year and swapped the rear tyre for another used SC2 Pirelli and fitted some different compound EBC rear brake pads.
On day 2 (Friday) the forecast was not very good and we had to miss the first session due to a rain shower, In the second session I spent the first few laps bedding in the brake pads then started to push for a lap time and to see where the bike could be improved unfortunately the bike started to make some strange noises under load so I pulled in to investigate and eventually found the exhaust had split at the collector joint (it had been repaired over winter after a crash at Donington) and unfortunately it had split beyond repair. Luckily, we had brought a spare exhaust which was fitted ready for the next session.
In the next session we ran a new front tyre with an old rear and the lap times were coming but still struggling with rear grip so for the last session we fitted a new rear tyre and set the bike up using all the information gathered after reading the data at the end of each session and we achieved our best lap time of the weekend, faster than we went all last year and from timing of other 1000 riders within few 10ths of a second of the best on track … End of Friday
Saturday, we experimented with different set up and found consistent lap times similar to Friday but I thought we could go faster if we could find some more rear grip, So for the last session of the day we went quite radical on the chassis set up and fitted a new pair of tyres to see what we could do………Then it rained and that was the end of our test as we were booked on a flight home early on Sunday morning.
Overall a good test quite a lot learned and we are now ready for the test at Donington though we will be very busy trying to make the bike look good for our sponsors.