I flew home from Scotland yesterday afternoon, dashed home to get a fresh set of clothes and then drove up to stop overnight at Darlington ready for the start of a two-day official British Superbikes test at Croft today.
It lashed down with rain for about 75 per cent of the drive north and it was still raining hard when I awoke at about 6am this morning. It’s now just after nine and it’s still raining and I’m wondering exactly what anyone is going to get out of testing today.
Maybe Dunlop will have some new wets to try, maybe Michelin will have some new wets that suit drying conditions better. That’s about the only areas where the two tyre giants struggled at Knockhill.
No one could keep with Jonathan Rea’s HM Plant Honda when the track was really wet, the super-soft Michelins really suits the conditions but as it dried out, the harder Dunlop’s Leon Haslam was running on his Airwaves Ducati came into their own and that’s why he was able to beat Ryuichi Kiyonari. I reckon he might have had a better run at Rea too had the track dried quicker.
Knockhill is really forgiving on tyres, hence Michelin being able to run soft rubber, but the four-cylinder bikes on Dunlops could also run softer tyres than the Ducatis.
Dunlop tried the soft rubber on the v-twins but the power delivery worked then that little bit too hard to risk chancing them for the race – and Leon Haslam’s rear in race one tore up on the outer edge sipes more than Gregorio Lavilla’s whose super-smooth style is always easier on tyres, whatever the conditions, than his team-mate.
Still, best go to the track now, hope it dries out and see if the teams can get some meaningful laps in.