The Be Wiser Kawasaki team of Chris Walker and Danny Buchan are preparing for their first testing abroad, with the duo heading top Spain next week for six days of on-track action to kick start the season.
With a long winter almost over, the squad, alongside team manager and former MCE British Superbike champion Tommy Hill, will head first to Cartagena for four days, before following it up with a further two days at Guadix. The test will be Walker’s first time on the machine, and the veteran is keen to compare it to his GBmoto Kawasaki of last season.
"The first test is when a team become a team really and that is why I am really looking forward to Spain. It will be the first chance to gel at a track with the team and it is a really exciting time for me. It is another fresh start for me - I never struggle with enthusiasm, as I am sure people are aware, but this heightens it again. Seeing the bike at Brands Hatch makes it seem a bit more real.
"The first test at Cartagena will be about blowing the cobwebs away as I haven't been riding a great deal over the winter. I have had the dirt bike out but it isn't the same, so it will be a case of getting my brain back up to speed. I drive a van on the road so to jump on a Superbike with 210bhp it feels like the Millennium Falcon when you first get on it! It takes a few days to get dialled in and then we are going to Guadix. The last time I went there was eight years ago, but I am on a familiar motorbike so I can't wait to get cracking."
Teammate Buchan, however, has had more recent experience on a bike, taking a superstock-spec machine prepared by technical partners MSS Kawasaki to Cartagena during a Spanish training camp alongside World Supersport rider Gino Rea. Despite that, however, he says there’s still work to do.
"To be honest the first test for me will be similar to what Shakey Byrne said before they went out recently. I am not going for lap times but to take in as much information as I can from the test - what works and what doesn't to take into this year to make each round easier.
"I have a new crew chief and new mechanics to work with this year so it will be about building a relationship with them and getting to know how I work. It is about familiarisation and getting used to everything.
"Riding my Be Wiser Kawasaki Superbike for the first time is going to be phenomenal. I have been out riding on my practice bike in Spain recently and that has been really fun, trying to get used to no traction control and that has been really fun so I cannot wait to get out next week."