Neil Hodgson, along with new Motorpoint Yamaha team-mate Dan Linfoot spent three days at Almeria last week, testing the R1s they will race in BSB next year.
MCN asked Hodgson for his views on the test:
First off, how’s the shoulder?
Really good. I’m so pleased we had a chance to ride the bike before Chrsitmas. I wasn’t sure how my shoulder would be. But it’s been incredible.
It’s still weak but there’s no pain. It’s quite a bit better than I thought it would be. Now we’ve got the test out of the way I can spend the next month or so working on the strength.
I sounds like you were worried?
Worried? I was paranoid – ‘is it going to be okay?’There was so much pressure on my physical condition. I wasn’t even sure if it was career over or not. But it’s good.
So what about the test? How much track time did you get?
It was a track day but Focused Evetns let us have trac ktime. We had an hour each day in the luncbrake but also got to run in the fast group.
That was hectic but it worked out well and we got a lot more done that I thought we might.
How was the R1?
It’s so bloody different to anything I’ve ever ridden! It’s the smoothest thing ever, that’s for sure.
It doesn’t make the right noise – not one you’re used to - so the engine feels like its revving to 5000rpm but it’s doing seven, maybe eight.
Rob’s like, ‘why are you over-revving it?” and I’m like, ‘am I?’ You know, by comparison the Honda I rode felt like it had a turbo. It’s real chalk and cheese. By the third day I felt like I as understanding it.
What about the chassis?
It feels nice. When I rode it on the first day it felt nervous – too easy to drop into corners but we dialled that out.
It’s certainly a big motorcycle. Huge compared to the Honda – well it looks that way and feels it when you first jump on it. But once you ride it, the thing is quite nice to ride.
The team have been toying with Ohlins and K-Tech suspension. What’s the future?
We started on Ohlins and then switched to K-Tech on the second day.
I'd used their stuff in the States so I was confident with it. Once we put the forks in I felt right at home.
When are you out again?
Possibly February. We’ll have some next stuff to try and we’ll start to get a bit more aggressive and stat looking for lap times.
We’ve got a couple tests in Spain planned and we’re hoping to get out in the UK. I’d love to get to some of the BSB tracks to get a feel for them again.
So overall – a positive run out?
Certainly a step in the right direction. The team is real close knit and I love the way everyone has an enthusiasm and a passion for what they are doing.
And Dan (Linfoot) seems like a nice lad. He was going really well.