Castrol Honda is beginning their preparations for the 2012 World Superbike Championship by taking its new fly-by-wire system to Misano for testing.
Having confirmed it will continue in 2012 with Jonathan Rea at the helm, Castrol Honda took to Misano to try out the fly-by-wire system that will be homologated with the introduction of the new CBR1000RR Fireblade.
Also a return to the circuit that Rea suffered a serious wrist injury in June – an injury he has only just returned from -, the Ulsterman was encouraged by the development of the new features as he took the seventh fastest time of 13 riders.
“It's been a real proper test, this, and we had a lot of stuff to work through,” he said. “On top of that, Pirelli also brought some new rubber to try so, in the end, we actually ran out of time. We probably needed the rest of this week to get through everything, but we can definitely see the potential of the fly-by-wire system that I tested for the first time today.
“Also, I'm able to ride a lot more in my comfort zone with this new package and it helped with engine braking, too. Going back to Misano was no problem for me and, in fact, I was going through the corner where I crashed faster than I did during the race weekend in June.
“Pirelli brought a lot of soft rubber and we could have used a qualifier to try for a time, but we had to keep our heads down and keep focused on the work we had to get through. The lap time is probably about where we are at the moment, but we know that the next step forward will push us back to the front.”
Though Makoto Tamada – who partnered Rea at the Nurburgring - was on hand to ride the machine and focus on development, the test also signalled the return of Ruben Xaus, the Spaniard set to make his racing comeback at Imola.
“Well it felt good to be back on a bike again properly f or the first time since the Brno crash in July. Of course, after two days of testing, I was tired, but it felt like a naturally tiredness. We've been testing some different electronics and the bike is much easier to control.
“The feeling is much better and the bike definitely feels stronger and faster. It's been a good two days for motivation and to give me confidence heading into Imola next week – I'm feeling like I can really go for it when we get there.”