New Honda signing Hiroshi Aoyama says he is slowly getting to grips with the 2012 Fireblade ahead of the opening round of the World Superbike Championship.
The former 250cc world champion and MotoGP rider concedes that he will need time to build up his confidence on the bike following a three-day private test at Phillip Island in Australia.
“I've really enjoyed the first test of the season on the new 2012 bike. I had some good feelings from the test in Qatar in December, but the feeling here at Phillip Island was quite different,” said Aoyama.
“We had to do a lot of work on the first two days but I learned a lot and on each day the feeling got better. We did a race simulation today and it was very interesting to experience the deterioration of the tyre.
“We need to make some more steps and, if we can do that, it'll be an exciting race next month! For sure, I need to ride a lot more to try to learn the bike and the tyres because everything is still very new. I'm sure I will need a couple of races to get familiar with everything.”
Both Aoyama and Jonathan Rea tested a host of chassis and suspension components and continued the development of the team's electronic ride-by-wire throttle system.
Although no official lap times were released, team manager Ronald ten Kate was encouraged by what he saw and described the new 2012 CBR1000-RR Fireblade as a “step forward”.
“We had high track temperatures here, which is something we struggled with during last year's event, so it was a very useful test. The new chassis and suspension parts that we brought here were all working well and we were able to reconfirm some of the parts we tested before,” said ten Kate.
“The overall package as part of the 2012 Fireblade is definitely a step forward and the new fairing has improved stability. It was properly tested too, because there was a strong wind coming up the straight on the first day.
“With both riders, the bike has been able to give them a single fast lap time, but the race simulations we did today were also encouraging.
"We can pack up tonight with a good feeling and we still have another month to come up with some more ideas back at the workshop. But, honestly, we couldn't have wished for more from this test.”