Jerez was a circuit i was really looking forward to riding at, 12 years is a long time to not ride somewhere and with a load of guys having tested there a few days ago providing the weather and conditions were good it'd be a great reference for us to see how the Panigale performed at yet another "new" track..
We arrived at the track a day early and hung around for a bit watching the Yamaha team doing some PR pics etc while the guys got our bikes and the garage etc all set up and ready for the following day.
Typically our first day of riding started with a wet track, Glenn had never been there before so he went out on wets to try to learn the track but it was that typical too dry for wets but too wet/damp for slicks..
Eventually after a long lunch i finally got out on track just before 2pm, the track was predominantly dry but there were still a good few damp patches around the track and i decided very early into my laps that the kerbs were a no go zone, especially for at least another hour or two anyway!!
My bike really surprised me at this track, the gearing was really short, i know it had been a while since i’d been there but for some reason it felt like the Ducati had to be ran a gear higher than i ever recall riding around the track but one thing’s for sure, the data Giovanni and the guys have from the WSB team racing and testing there is a lot more current than my knowledge lol!!!!
As i mentioned there were a few damp patches around the track that i wasn’t being very brave over but even so after just one run the bike felt like it was working pretty good, Giovanni asked if i wanted to change anything for the next exit and honestly there was no immediate need, i figured until i was going fast and pushing hard for the whole lap there was little or no point in changing anything.
One thing i did have to test was the blipper system that we’re going to be using in BSB this year, we’d done some work with it in Portimao but the software given to us from Motec was miles away and the system was very inconsistent but our technical director pushed hard and Motec sent some new software that we chipped away with, i wouldn’t say we’ve absolutely nailed it and now have a perfect blipper but with every exit we made we made improvements with it so that was good.
After not too many laps at all, 38 i think we were going pretty good, i’d now started working on some chassis settings that we never get the chance to work through during a race meeting and that had some interesting results, i was getting a bit braver over the patches but still wasn’t 100% with them, time was ticking away though so we went out for one final run and got going even better, it was far from a brain out time attack more just a right new tyres, let’s use them and push on a bit, that we did and the lap time was good!!
Giovanni and i talked through our plans for the following day, we had some more chassis settings to test but with bad weather forecast for the following day i was praying just for some more dry laps rather than thinking about a full day test plan.
Unfortunately day two was pretty much a right off, it was raining from the get go and the work we had to do was only really relevant in the dry, Phil wanted Glenn to test a couple of parts and having used most of our wets initially at Portimao and the previous morning trying to learn the track we decided Glenn should use our last set to do his tests so i ended up sitting the day out, that said we went through some interesting stuff with the bike even just sat in the garage, my problem is when I'm at the track i can’t stop thinking, anything whatsoever however random it might be if i think it’ll help us in any way possible i mention it and we talk it through and see if there’s any mileage in it!!
I guess looking at it, testing at the end of January and getting 3 out of 4 days on track we did ok, we certainly got back up to speed ok and i’m real happy we found out about things in time to have plenty of time to go back and sort any issues before the start of the season, i loved being back out on my bike and can’t wait for my next tests whenever they’ll be, one thing’d for sure, i’ll keep you guys posted, for now though a quick thanks to the boss, to Giovanni, Sam, Kev, Blandy, Mark and Macauly for their work out there, see you again soon boys!!!!