With Northern Ireland currently bathed in sunshine, choosing Kirkistown in County Down for a final pre-season shakedown test, prior to next weekend’s opening British Superbike races at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday was a wise choice from Tyco Suzuki team manager Philip Neill.
Both Alastair Seeley and Josh Brookes used the morning session to iron out any set-up issues from last week’s official tests at Brands Hatch and Snetterton, and the hard work paid off, with both men lapping well inside the circuit lap record on numerous occasions on their Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbikes: both men posting regular 54.3 and 54.4sec laps.
With an open pit lane and sole use of the circuit until 2pm, the riders ended the morning session with a race simulation and positive feedback was the order of the day from both corners of the garage.
Seeley was happy to finish up mid-afternoon, but Josh Brookes, looking relaxed and content in his new set-up with crew chief Stewart Johnstone and Mark McCarville, decided to stay on until 6pm lodging over 80 laps in the bank before next weekend’s opening battle.
“If you added it all up today I think we did quite a number of laps. I decided to stay on as the weather was perfect and there are always things you can try. We ran through a number of set-ups and put down some decent lap times, which were pretty steady and consistent.
“I’m one hundred percent happy with my side of the garage and I know with a bit of time things will get even better. Last week there were some general things I wasn’t happy with but going to Kirkistown worked out well. As I always say, it’s better to ride anywhere than not at all. Yeah it was a good day.”
“I was happy with the race simulation we did, posting consistent lap times with the fastest lap [54.3] coming at a time when the tyre would certainly not have been at its best – so that’s confidence inspiring.
We’re certainly going in the right direct. Yes we still have a bit to do, but you couldn’t post consistent 54-second times if the bike wasn’t working well. We’ve matched last year’s time that we did on the Superbike with all the electronic aids, so that’s also a positive.
We also had a new motor in today which was smooth and not aggressive and is to my liking, although it still has plenty of power. Everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet, so we’ve gelled well. Hopefully we can hit the ground running at Brands next week."