Ruben Xaus got his Ten Kate Honda career off to an encouraging start by posting the fastest time in wet World Superbike testing at Portimao.
Though there was never a chance for the riders to get a dry lap in during the two days, Xaus would eventually top the timesheets with a best of 1min 55.8secs, around three tenths faster than Leon Haslam on the BMW.
His first outing on the bike since agreeing to join the Dutch-based team, while Xaus admits the weather makes it difficult to make a definitive impression, he says he already feels comfortable on the CBR1000RR.
“In Spanish, we have some different words for 'happy'. There is 'contento', and then there is 'feliz', which is what I am. Yes, I am really, really, happy! From the very first moment at this test, the team, my new team-mate and the bike are all incredible. It's like we got an 'A' in an exam, and now we are looking for an A+.
“I really didn't adjust anything on the bike, not the bars or anything, but I was able to improve each time I went out, even in the different conditions. Everything we changed with the settings allowed me to go faster, so it all worked really well. I would, of course, have like some dry time on the bike – maybe even just 10 or 15 laps – but it was the same for everybody, and they all did many laps, too.”
Completing 114 laps, Xaus also benefitted from the help of new team-mate Jonathan Rea, who sat out the second day of the test to rest his recently operated on wrist and to help the Spaniard.
“[He] helped me a lot today because he knows the bike so very well and has spent lots of time in the team. I was able to go much faster than I have been in the wet here before and the first impression of everything is really very good.
“I will train hard over the next few weeks to prepare for the next test and I cannot wait to ride the bike again and to move this exciting project forward.”