|The Honda boys are worried about conserving
their tyres over 22 laps of the picturesque
Photo: PATA Honda
PATA Honda’s Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have both raised concern about tyre conservation following the close of the winter test season at Philip Island today. The next time the guys will be out on track is on Friday in the first Free Practice session for Round 1 of the 2013 season.
Frustrated following a generally wet test at Jerez, the PATA Honda boys flew out to Australia to participate in last weeks private and this weeks official pre-season test to continue the development of their Honda CBR10000RR machines.
Rea, who is entering his sixth team with ten Kate Honda (one in Supersport, 4 in Superbike) set the 6th fastest combined time at the Australian circuit which has been resurfaced over winter. The Northern Irishman who will start his 100th World Superbike Race on Sunday explained: “It can be strange riding at Phillip Island, especially doing so many testing laps over four days. The conditions can change so dramatically – yesterday we had almost 60 degrees of track temperature and today it was less than 25. The wind changed going down the straight, from a tail-wind yesterday to being in our faces today, and the changing conditions can upset the chassis settings on the bike. Yesterday, I didn’t feel that good but today it was 100 times better. We’ve been trying to do a lot of laps on old tyres and we still have some tyre life issues to work on for the race weekend, but I think that’s a common problem up and down pit lane. The tests have finished positively, even though we didn’t get a chance for a maximum time attack. The guys in my crew have been working really hard to get the electronics set up to my exact liking, especially the application of the traction control, but we’ve learned a lot. We still have a lot to do for the weekend – it’s clear that, if we want to go fast on a new tyre, we can, but Phillip Island isn’t about that. It’s about still having a good tyre on lap 22, so there’s still some work to be done.”
Haslam, who joined the team from the factory BMW squad is happy to be only four hundredths behind his team mate. The 2010 World Superbike runner-up took seventh place in the official test ahead of the season starting on Friday, he said: “Our testing has been frustrating at times and in Jerez last month we lost the first day to the weather and the second day with some electronics teething problems. I think we made more progress in the first three hours here at Phillip Island than in two days in Jerez, so these two tests here have been really important. We haven’t progressed too much more today because we had a problem with the weather this morning and still had some gremlins with the electronics. But we’ve found out what the problem is and, even with the bike cutting out intermittently all the way round my best lap this afternoon, I still managed to do a decent time. We’ve still got more work to do and more things to try but now we go in to Friday looking for a set-up that will make the tyres last on race day. I’m happy to be in that position and, if all goes well, we can maybe try some of those new things, but the priority now is race set-up and tyres.”