Tommy Hill still setting the pace in Spain

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Tommy Hill continues to set the pace on the Worx Suzuki in the first major BSB pre-season test at Cartagena.

He posted a best lap of 1:34.5 to go three tenths quicker than James Ellison on the Swan Honda.

Hill said: “The lap times seem to be coming to me rather than me pushing hard to get down to them. I’m really happy with the way things are going. We’ve had big lists of things to work through and that’s good but now we’re refining them down to what works best and we aim to come away from here with a good base setting.”

Hill’s team-mate Yukio Kagayama is third quickest with a 1:34.9 but had a big crash this afternoon (Saturday) and had to sit out the remaining sessions while his crew rebuilt the bike.

Ellison and team-mate Stuart Easton have been working on new electronics but still posted competitive times. HM Plant Honda pair Josh Brookes and Ryuichi Kiyonari have new Motec electronics and Ohlins suspension which needs setting up. They also missed the first day of the test and that’s reflected in their times.

The lap times are open to question since there is no official timing and there’s a certain amount of kidology when it comes to trying to psyche out rival teams. 
Case in point is Dan Linfoot’s Motorpoint Yamaha team reckoning he posted a 1:35.0 and even a 1:34.7 late today – claims which raised an eyebrow among rivals.
But Linfoot does look smooth and tidy on track with the ex-Airwaves Yamaha, and there are big smiles in the Motorpoint pit garage suggesting they are more than happy with the progress of both their riders.

Linfoot is quicker than Neil Hodgson who admits he’s still getting his head around the way the R1 delivers its power. Linfoot said: “Look, I know it’s early days but I’m surprised how the lap times are coming. The bike is so much easier to ride than it was when I raced an R1 last year.”

Michael Laverty slipped off the Relentless by TAS Suzuki on Friday but had posted a 1:35.1 before that. Today Laverty and team-mate Alastair Seeley spent the morning concentrating on fuel maps and traction control settings then parked up for the team to concentrate on TT stars Cameron Donald and Bruce Anstey who only arrived late last night.

AIM Suzuki rider Gary Johnson had a big off this afternoon and was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-over though is not though to be seriously injured. 

Cartagena sample times (after three days of testing)
Tommy Hill, Suzuki, 1:34.5
James Ellison, Honda, 1:34.8
Yukio Kagayama, Suzuki, 1:34.9
Dan Linfoot, Yamaha, 1:35.0
Stuart Easton, Honda, 1:35.1
Michael Laverty, Suzuki 1:35.1
Neil Hodgson, Yamaha, 1:35.8
Alastair Seeley, Suzuki, 1:35.9
Michael Rutter, Ducati, 1:36.1
Martyn Jessop, Ducati, 1: 36.0
Ryuichi Kiyonari, Honda, 1:36.5
Josh Brookes, Honda, 1:37.5
Chris Burns, Aprilia 1:38.0
Joe Burns, Aprilia, 1:38.5
No times available for Gary Johnson.
All times are unofficial from teams and therefore open to question!

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin