The Honda WSB team run by Ten Kate Racing took delivery of their production 2017 CBR1000RR SP2 bikes just two weeks ago. Rushing to get ready for the first test at Jerez, the bikes are obviously in an early stage of development.
Below you will see comments from riders Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl following their first taste of the new machinery at the two-day Jerez test. For reference, Nicky Hayden was pretty quick on Day 2 with a lap time of 1:40.5 seconds, putting him sixth fastest (although, on qualifying tires). WSB testing continues next weekend at Portimao. Here is the press release from Honda:
The Honda WorldSBK Team has completed today the first private test of 2017 at Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Official Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl were able to try for the first time the WorldSBK-spec version of the brand-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 they will use throughout the 2017 edition of the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Blessed by good weather conditions – despite cold temperatures in the morning – the test proved very useful for Hayden and Bradl, who were able to put in a considerable amount of laps. Both riders worked hard with their crews over the two days while trying to get an early understanding of the new package, before making some first set-up changes.
On the final day, the team successfully put to test the performance of the bike with qualifying tyres, with Hayden finishing as the sixth quickest rider of the test and Bradl being only three tenths of a second slower than his team mate.
The Honda WorldSBK Team will be back on track this weekend at Portimão’s Autodromo do Algarve with another two-day test, the last one before travelling to Phillip Island for the traditional World Superbike official test and the opening round of the season.
Nicky Hayden 69
103 laps / 1’40.548
It has been two useful days of testing here at Jerez and luckily the weather was on our side in the afternoons. The team has done a great job to put the bike together and bring it here, despite the short time they had available to prepare them. We used yesterday almost exclusively as a shakedown day and in the afternoon we were able to make some decent runs, while today we tried to work more on the bike performance, just to get the bike in the right window, and a bit of a direction. We’ve made a couple of steps but it’s obvious we’re still behind our competitors at the moment. There’s still a lot of work to do and time to make up; when we used the qualifying tyre the time we set made us look closer than we actually are. Overall we found some positives today: we worked a lot on finding more grip and the bike ran smoothly without any glitch. The team has a little bit of time now to understand the data before Portimao.
Stefan Bradl 6
99 laps / 1’40.854
This having been the very first test with the new bike, we expected it not to be the smoothest of rides. Overall, though, it wasn’t so bad! Today we made some important improvements compared to yesterday. We still have to do some work on corner exit in order to find some more grip – and speed – out of turns. Obviously, we didn’t have enough time to react massively on the bike, we are just making small steps to try and get a first understanding of the new Fireblade. Overall it has been a positive two days of testing, because the weather allowed us to lap consistently around the track. Despite some expectable teething issues, it wasn’t too bad. In just two days we’ll be in Portimão, where we will continue with our work.
For being the very first outing with the new Blade, we can say we’re quite satisfied. We did not have any issue with the engines so we managed to do a great deal of laps. We gathered a lot of data in order to understand the behaviour of the new ride-by-wire system, especially in relation to the throttle body, and after some teething problems things ran smoothly. The engine is already a little bit faster than last year’s one, knowing this one is far from the spec we will bring to Phillip Island. The engine mapping was still not optimised and that made it a bit more difficult to set everything up, although this had to be expected. We’ll have this one sorted before Australia. Time to go to Portimão now, where only Stefan has ridden – but not raced – before.
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