Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha has got its 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship (BSB) preparations underway in the Spanish sunshine, with a seven-day test at two different circuits – and ominously, former champion Neil Hodgson has revealed that he is already 'beginning to feel like it is my bike'.
Motorpoint will campaign a brace of Yamaha YZF-R1s for Hodgson and highly-regarded young team-mate Dan Linfoot in this year's BSB, and in advance of the Brands Hatch curtain-raiser in a month's time, the duo have been out on-track at Cartagena, before they move on to Guadix later in the week.
Both circuits are very typical of the Spanish design, specifically built around smaller bikes and therefore by their nature very physical – as 2000 British Superbike Champion and runaway 2003 World Superbike Champion Hodgson was swiftly reminded...
“I forgot how much hard work it is around this track!” the 36-year-old Burnley native quipped. “On a Superbike it's pretty wild, but good fun too. The bike has changed quite a lot since our last test, and I am beginning to feel like it is my bike. It is definitely a different animal to work out with the cross-plane crank engine feel, [but] having plenty of track time means we can chill out and work through stuff we have planned.”
“I'm loving my bike!” enthused Linfoot, the quicker of the pair by just over a second. “Since our last test with the new settings I have been so keen to get back on my bike – the guys have worked some more on the bike and it's even better! I really like this track, too; I felt comfortable from the start, and I want to keep learning how to get the best out of the bike and myself.”
“We had a trip out to Spain in December, but that was a bit of a jolly and a get-together for all the team,” concluded team principal Rob Mac. “This is much more serious and focussed. These Spanish tracks are very good for the boys' fitness and concentration – after seven days of working out around Cartagena and Guadix, they will both need a rest before Brands!”