Conditions Hamper Official MCE BSB Tests
The 19th, 20th and 21st of March saw the last three official MCE British Superbike test days take place at Brands Hatch and Snetterton 300 respectively. It was the last chance for the riders and teams to get their bikes out on track and ready for the season opener at Brands.
As soon as the first morning kicked off you could tell that things around the paddock weren't as chipper as at Donington the week before. The weather was damp and cold, as was the track. Early on in the day it was sitting at about 4 degrees and was very slippery. A number of teams opted to wait till later in the day before getting out, and some opted to not go out at all, namely Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki and Tyco Suzuki.
Jenny Tinmouth was first out and showed the boys how to get it done. More followed as the morning progressed. There was a slight snow storm around lunchtime which some thought might stop play but luckily it subsided and riding resumed. Most riders did get out on track and as always in testing this was invaluable for making those tweaks to the bikes pre-season. Chris 'the stalker' Walker on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki took the fastest time of the day followed closely by the quick Kuba Smrz on the yet to be sponsored Padgetts Honda.
Afternoon Session Brands:
- Chris Walker Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki51.410s
- Jakub Smrz Padgetts Honda +0.066s
- Danny Buchan Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki +0.790s
- Ryuichi Kiyonari Samsung Honda +1.132s
- Jenny Tinmouth TWR Honda +2.051s
Teams and Riders then made their way up to Norfolk to Snetterton 300 for two more days of testing, or so they thought. Snetterton Day 1 was even colder than at Brands and the track didn't really warm up all day. It was press day so the riders and their bikes were having photos taken, with the intention of testing around it but it didn't happen. None of the MCE BSB riders made it out much to the disappointment of the fans who had showed up. The bulk of teams did not see the point in risking bike and rider so close to the season.
The forecast for day 2 was much the same and this meant that some teams opted to head for home rather than come down and set up for the day, noticeably Rapid Solicitors, GBmoto Honda and Quattro Plant Kawasaki. But on the actual morning the sun broke out and warmed the track up meaning teams could get their bikes and riders out. Tyco were seen for the first time and PJ Jacobsen managed to get a few laps in before suffering some electrical problems which hampered the rest of his day. Josh Brookes showed his style putting in quick consistent laps. Lowes and Kiyo on the Samsung Hondas were also out, Lowes again showing his speed and his thirst to win by taking the fastest times in the morning session. Kuba Smrz was again running well and putting in some good times.
Morning Session Day 2 Snetterton:
- Alex Lowes Samsung Honda 1m:51.407s
- Josh Brookes Tyco Suzuki +0.795s
- Jakub Smrz Padgetts Honda +1.294s
- Ryuichi Kiyonari Samsung Honda +1.486s
- Josh Waters Milwaukee Yamaha +1.614s
- Tommy Bridewell Bathams Honda +1.677s
- James Westmoreland Buildbase BMW +1.905s
- Matteo Baiocco Rapido Sport Racing Ducati +2.119s
- James Ellison Milwaukee Yamaha +2.227s
- Lee Costello Halsall Racing Kawasaki +2.805s
The afternoon session saw fewer riders out as the temperature had dropped once again but some still got out for those important final chances to test. James Westmoreland on the Buildbase BMW was showing his pace just behind James Ellison on the Milwaukee Yamaha. Ellison's teammate Josh Waters was also having a good day as he tried to get his head around the track and the bike. Both Yamaha's improved over the testing process and the team is almost happy with the set up going into the first round.
Afternoon Session Day 2 Snetterton:
- Josh Brookes Tyco Suzuki) 1m:51.959s
- James Ellison Milwaukee Yamaha +0.290s
- James Westmoreland Buildbase BMW +0.528s
- Jakub Smrz Padgetts Honda +0.626s
- James Waters Milwaukee Yamaha +0.755s
- Tommy Bridewell Bathams Honda +0.780s
- Jon Kirkham Buildbase BMW +1.505s
- Howie Mainwaring MH Kawasaki +1.751s
- Lee Costello Halsall Racing Kawasaki +2.765s
- Karl Harris PR Racing Kawasaki +2.958s
All in all testing for most teams was a success. More track time all round would have been much more appreciated but on the whole most got a feel for what things would be like. Tyco rider Josh Brookes said, "It doesn't matter that we didn't get to test much, we've got 9 rounds to do that before the real season starts..." The confident Australian should perhaps look to his teammate PJ who's only ridden his superbike a handful of times and only got a glimpse of some of the tracks. Still though, the lack of testing the teams got will definitely make the first round at Brands Hatch on the 5th/6th/7th of April very interesting.
Let the racing begin!
Picture Courtesy of Simon Hall
27.03.13 - Big Ed