WSB: Two-day test marks return of Brno
Not since 2012 had the Czech forests of Brno shaken to the sound of World Superbike machines, but that changed on Wednesday as six of the teams took to the Czech track for two days of testing.
Aruba Ducati has rented out the circuit for Wednesday and Thursday, sharing the legendary venue with Kawasaki and Yamaha as well as the Barni, Orelac and Triple-M teams. WSB last raced at Brno in 2012 and will race again at the venue this June.
Those present made the most of dry conditions on Wednesday, not least as the forecast looks somewhat less positive for tomorrow. This meant an intense schedule with many laps, following on from an already highly concentrated period of the season with the back-to-back race meetings of Aragon and Assen. Ambient temperatures fluctuated between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius with a light breeze as the track opened from 9am-1pm and then again from 2-6pm.
As time was so tight between MotorLand and Assen, the Brno test could signal a perfect opportunity for teams to test concession engine updates; all manufacturers other than Ducati are entitled to an upgrade at any point for the remainder of the season due to their fewer podium finishes up to and including Aragon. Should a manufacturer race an updated part from the next round at Imola, this could prove crucial as no engine RPM reductions will be possible until after Donington and so this could be a perfect and timely moment to roll out the upgrades.
As this is not an official test organised by Dorna (the only official test during the season is a two-day August gathering at Portimao), no lap times were released. This also meant that there were no new tyre compounds to test from Pirelli.
At Ducati, Chaz Davies looked into the issue which caused his Ducati’s rear-end vibration in Assen on Sunday, while team-mate Marco Melandri is keen to rectify once and for all the instability problem which has affected his bike all season so far.
On the Yamaha machines, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark completed a huge haul of 88 and 95 laps respectively, while evaluating basic setup parts for the Brno round and some new suspension components from Ohlins. Lowes looked specifically into chassis settings and grip levels and is planning to revisit gearing on Thursday, while van der Mark commented that the track was bumpier than expected.
Leandro Mercado’s Orelac Racing mechanics worked until 11pm at Assen on Sunday night following the Argentinean’s crash in Race 2. They have now used the first day of the Brno test to work on different electronic and chassis setups on their customer Kawasaki, declaring themselves content with the progress made.
Action will continue at the Brno test from 9am local time (CET) on Thursday.