Motortrades Insight Magazine Online

Honda World Superbike test reveals 'big problems' with electronics and brakes

Ref:A00059
Published: 24 January 2013


BRITISH World Superbike pair Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam are nervous of what the season ahead holds for them after a difficult test, having taken to the track with this season's revised Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.

Speeding around Jerez in Spain, it marks the final European winter test for the Pata Honda team and the second at Jerez - new to the World Superbike championship calendar for this season.

Jonathan Rea Leon Haslam joins Jonathan Rea at Honda from BMW for the 2013 season - after showing impressive consistency in previous races.
Rea, who worked hard to finish fifth last year, said: "It's been a frustrating test and shown us that we need more track time before the first round, but that's coming in Australia, so we'll hope for better luck there.

"We're not really where we want to be right now. Some things just can't be fixed on site and the electronics problem we had was one of those. The system was taking too much power away so we really needed more track time to sort that out. However, I felt some good things, like it's catching slides a lot more safely now, so that's encouraging."

Jonathan Rea

The Dutch team concentrated on testing and refining a new electronic package being developed from Honda's ongoing ambitious MotoGP project. Rea and Haslam were seen testing a heavily-revised swingarm on the new motorcycle, together with a new Termignoni exhaust system.

Pocket Rocket Haslam was also 'frustrated in a lot of ways' by what he described as 'electronic issues and braking problems'. He explained: "In the end, we changed the pads and threw in a random electronics package and I got maybe four or five laps towards the end of the day. It's been one problem after another but those last laps showed that the bike is going to be good. I can't wait to get back on it in Australia."

Jonathan Rea

Final preparations of the bikes and any modifications and enhancements will be made in the next few days, with the team heading out to Australia next week, where the first round of the 2013 Superbike World Championship will be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria - won last year by reigning World Champion Max Biaggi, from Italy.

Pieter Breddels, Honda's technical co-ordinator, said: "We had some big problems on the first day with some glitches in the new electronics, so we had to wait to get a new software patch written and downloaded. The track conditions were not great either, so in reality we could only work in the last two hours or so of the test. In that little time, I think the guys did a great job and Jonathan was able to do a lap of 1m41.6s. Leon had some brake issues, which set him back a little, and he was using Jonathan's electronics settings which didn't really work for him."

Jonathan Rea

With two upcoming tests down under, it remains to be seen who will set the pace for the season. Huddersfield's 27-year-old Tom Sykes - who started from pole for the first six races in 2012 - missed out on claiming the title with Kawasaki by one point last year and will be determined not to waste any opportunities this season.

Breddels added: "The bike is working well though and the new components are performing as we want. We have some more parts to test, so we could do with more than the four testing days we have remaining before the start of the season, but we're in quite good shape for now."

The first round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship kicks off on February 24.

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