The GBmoto Kawasaki squad of James Ellison and Chris Walker have concluded their first test of 2014 at Cartagena, with the pair running in the team’s new Kawasaki machines ahead of the official MCE British Superbike test at Almeria that starts today.
Despite a few early issues with the new bikes, the team managed to smooth out the problems and find a comfortable base setting for Ellison, moving from Milwaukee Yamaha, and Walker, who comes to the team with years of experience with the ZX-10 package.
James Ellison said, “I was pleasantly surprised after riding the ZX-10R for the first time, I naturally had some nerves Friday morning but could tell straight away that the bike has real potential. It’s very nimble and felt stronger on the brakes, which is what we need for the UK circuits, but it’s important not to get carried away this early on.”
“This was our very first run out on the bikes so we had a lot of set-up work to do and weren’t really pushing for lap times as I was shaking off some of the winter rust and getting used to the Kawasaki. That said, I still managed to go faster than I did last year and post my fastest lap around Cartagena so I’m looking forward to seeing how we get on at Almeria and the UK tests.”
Chris Walker said, “It was mega to get back out on a Superbike after such a long winter. It was the first time I got to truly work with the team and we all instantly gelled, which is one of the most important things about joining a new team. Although I’ve been riding Kawasaki’s for the last few years, the GBmoto bike is completely different to what I’ve been used to. It’s got bags of potential and the fact I was able to lap over a second faster than I did this time last year bodes well.”
“I spent the majority of the test getting used to using the new Öhlins suspension, while James worked on electronics and we’re now heading to Almeria where we’ll be able to keep working on the set-up. I’m feeling really positive and am sure if we keep going like we are then we’ll be in a strong position come Brands Hatch.”
Team boss Mark Smith-Halvorsen concluded: “I’m really pleased with how James, Chris and the entire team worked throughout the three days. We weren’t able to get the bikes out for an initial shakedown around a UK circuit before leaving so even with having to do basic set-up we were still able to work through a number of early settings and successfully overcome the usual early teething problems.”
“We now head to Almeria where we’ll continue to work on settings and see if what we learnt at Cartagena can be carried across to other circuits. Although there will be other BSB teams there, it’s important we don’t get carried away with chasing lap times this early on and focus on working as well as we have this weekend.”