My god it feels good to be able to sit here and write a BLOG for you guys so early in the new year, as you'll know if you keep an eye on what's happening on my twitter feed I've just finished my first two tests of 2017!!
Our first test was with pretty much most of the WSB grid at Portimao, it's a track I really enjoy riding and the perfect place to start this years campaign, last year we made our Ducati debut there so it was good to see the progress we've made over the past twelve months, in some ways the two days there were difficult, the first day started wet so we never actually got out on track until the afternoon as whilst the track was wet it was that annoying wet that destroys wet tyres within a couple of laps but it's still far too "wet" for slicks.
At these tests there wasn't really a great deal of stuff for us to actually test but regardless my first flyby along the start finish straight felt fantastic, we definitely had some fun riding around there and the great thing was because all of the WSB guys had just done 2 days in Jerez they were fully up to speed straight away giving me a great reference from a lap time point of view. It was so interesting for me riding around with various guys from that championship with their technical rules, i could really see who's riding and who's playing a computer game, electronics nowadays are amazing, you've got me doing a lap time because of entry speed and the ability to use my right hand as traction control then you've got some of them braking super deep into corners, completely missing their apex but turning the bike and immediately going to 100% throttle and leaving the electronics to figure the exit out for them, the difference between the faster guys in WSB and the slower is obvious as is the guys who aren't perhaps riding the best package but are riding the package they have very well indeed, it was great to see!!!
One thing that was particularly good for me is that BSB have Pirelli tyres the same as the WSB championship but it tends to work that we have what they had a year or two ago so not only is there a performance difference from the WSB electronics but there's also the improved performance of the newer tyres so riding and keeping up or catching guys out there meant we were definitely doing a good job, sure at the end of the day we saw the boys all firing qualifying tyres at their bikes which we don't get but even so we still definitely held our own and ended up right in the mix so I was chuffed to bits.
The funny thing about the test was that after the first day with the delayed start i only managed about 40 laps but the next day i was really achey, day two however i did 75 laps or so and on day three which was a day off i actually felt much better, it really doesn't seem to matter how much you prepare for riding a Superbike in the gym there really is nothing quite like actually riding one to get you in the zone lol!! After the two days riding i was really looking forward to riding at Jerez, it's a track i hadn't ridden since '05 on the KTM Roberts GP bike, 12 years ago!! But before we left for Jerez we headed back to the circuit and had a team karting race, my god, it was so funny, proper amusing and to say there was a bit of variation in the performance of the karts is a bit of an understatement but it didn't stop us having a load of fun, in fact i reckon that's not only one of the fastest half an hours of my life but also one of the best stomach workouts due to all the laughing while racing I've ever had, anyway enough of that, onwards and upwards, well due East to Jerez we go!!!