Team WFR complete six days of testing

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The WFR Honda team completed their final day on track at Alcarras yesterday (Wednesday) as Alex Lowes, Graeme Gowland and James Westmoreland wrapped up six days of Spanish testing.

The team had continued to prepare for the start of the season as they worked hard with the new specification WFR Hondas with the focus on the final day mainly on improving corner entry speed.

Lowes’ final day on track was hampered by a crash early in the morning, but uninjured he was able to continue later in the day and remained positive leaving the test. Gowland was confident that the team had made big steps forward since arriving at the track on Monday and feels they have achieved what they needed to before the team’s next test at Snetterton.

Westmoreland was able to complete longer runs and was feeling positive that the changes they have made will help with tyre wear over race distance.

Lowes said: “Today wasn’t too good as I crashed early in the session this morning and it meant I missed out on some time. I just wanted to get out and have a good last day, but I think I pushed a bit too hard on a cool track so I only managed to get out for a few runs this afternoon.

“We were still able to make some changes in the right direction and even though I felt sore I got down to my best lap times of the test. I am feeling happy with how it has gone here in Spain and it is easier than I thought it would be to go fast straight away without making too many changes.

“We have done a lot of work on corner entry as that was where we were losing out to start with, but now there is a big difference and we have had help from Motec and everything is good.

“Even though I had a crash I am feeling fine and looking forward to coming home now and chilling out before we get back out on track in a few weeks at a BSB track.”

Gowland said: “It has been a really good test for us and I think we have solved all the problems that we had when we first went out on track last November. We have made some big changes over the past week but I think we have got to where we need to be and I think we are in a good position.

“We knew that this year we need to work to make the tyre last and with the changes we have made and by altering the balance of the WFR Honda we have made some big steps. We have also worked on the control of the bike into the corners and that is where it makes a big difference for lap times.

“We have made up over two seconds between the first day of arriving and when we have left; some of that is down to knowing the track better but it is still a big improvement.

“As always there are still areas where we can improve when we go to Snetterton, but it will be interesting to see how the base setting we have here translates to a BSB circuit.

“It hasn’t taken us long to get up to speed and I think we are in a good position now heading home.”

Westmoreland said: “It was an awesome final day here. We managed to work through some chassis changes and refined what we had so I feel happy. 

“We did a race run which was really consistent and we could lap in quick times even on the final lap. After the race run we found something to cure the corner entry problem we had to begin with. We are a lot closer to the finished article now.

“When I first rode the bike last year it was good as an Evo bike and then we got the new spec engine for the last few rounds, which we took a small step back.

“Then we went out to Spain and tested a lot of different things and chose what worked best and gave us the best feel. That was a tough test as we had a high workload.

“Then the new bikes were built and we have refined them during the last six days. We have made a good improvement as the main area we lacked was corner entry.

“Our bike was strong everywhere in 2011 except that one place, hopefully now we have resolved that and improved in other areas too simultaneously.”

Laura Stevens

By Laura Stevens