BSB pre-season testing blog: Viva Espana! Day Two

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It didn’t seem such a busy day on track for the boys at Calafat today, compared to Tuesday – but everyone seemed happy enough with the way things had gone.

It was pretty cold early in the morning and took ages to warm-up so no one was out until gone 11.00am. But it did warm up later so the laps the riders got were really meaningful.

Tuesday had been installation day with the riders having to reign themselves in while the engineers checked electronic settings. Today was about getting the riders comfortable and then experimenting just a little.

There wasn’t much in it on times if you took into account the BS factor with everyone kidding everyone else. Shane Byrne clocked a 1:23.3 but consistently low 1:24s, Tommy Hill 1:23.8, Michael Laverty 1:24.2 and Ryuichi Kiyonari? I’m not sure since him and his crew chief Adrian Gorst were always busy throughout the day. However, the consensus was he was clocking 1:25s. I mention times only because people always ask which isn’t surprising since the lap time is God in this sport. But seriously, it’s day 1.5 of pre-season testing and times mean very little. The fact everyone is ballpark suggests no massive issues.

Oh, and Jason O’Halloran was busy clocking mileage on the HM Plant Honda superstocker and running two to three seconds off superbike pace, pretty much ballpark too.

Shakey was his usual ebullient self, especially pumped at the end of the after getting a chance to go out on a well-worn tyre to ‘test the traction’. Well that’s what he said but the glint in his eye suggested he revelled in unhooking the rear end to lay a few black lines!

On a more serious note his only gripe all day was with a fuelling issue mid-corner that meant that, while he could run in okay and get out okay, the minute he tapped the gas mid-corner it tended to upset the bike. It’ll be sorted by tomorrow.

Hill and Laverty kept talking about the huge potential of the Yamaha. Both of them seemed much more comfortable with their bikes and today, I think the lap times will really tumble.

Gregorio Lavilla popped by yesterday, arriving on his BMW F800GS trailee. “I live just the other side of that mountain,” he said pointing at a rocky outcrop into the distance. Lavilla reckons he is back to full fitness after breaking his hip in a World Endurance race crash last year. But he’s still without a ride for this season and said he’s back to full fitness now and would be more than willing to come back to BSB if a top ride became available. “I have so many good memories of the racing, the tracks and the crowd in BSB. I would love to ride there again but no one has called me.”

As dusk fell over Calafat the Double Red crew (James Wright and Sue Ward) and I jumped in the hire car to head down to Cartagena for the first day of the Pro Test  with even more BSB and roads teams. Meanwhile the Honda and Yamaha boys stopped over in Calafat for one more day of testing there before joining us later in the week.

We got into town at nearly midnight, having run the last 20 miles with the fuel gauge on empty. Not a gas station in sight.

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin