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Fault-free races as EBR makes WSBK debut
25 February 2014
Hero Erik Buell Racing team manager Giulio Bardi believes the manufacturer can come away from its first-ever World Superbike Championship event feeling positive after completing both races without fault.
The first American manufacturer to compete in World Superbikes, though the Phillip Island event would prove a steep learning curve – particularly when lead rider Geoff May was ruled out of the races due to a broken collarbone -, sole remaining rider Aaron Yates was at least able to finish both races, albeit in last position.
Despite this, the American feels there is much more to come from the 1190RX and felt the bike was better in the races than it had been through testing, practice and qualifying.
“The bike was the best that it's been all weekend,” Yates said. “We found something in the warm up session which has helped us massively. Towards the end of the race I was thinking about not getting in the way of leaders but we did what we set out to achieve and that was to finish both races and get a lot more data. We can go to Aragon proud of what we have achieved here.”
For team manager Bardi, he was satisfied to have Yates complete both races, though he admits there is much development to be done on the bike for it to be competitive.
“One of the targets was to complete both races with both riders. Unfortunately Geoff got injured but he will be back for the next race. With Aaron we completed both races and that was important for us. We can go back home and between Australia and the next race in Spain, we can further develop the EBR 1190 RX.
“This weekend we have been chasing our tails a little but the whole team has worked hard and can be satisfied that we are moving in the right direction.”
Having started the week more than seven seconds off the pace, May had reduced that margin to around 3.5secs during the race weekend prior to his injury and was on course to make Superpole. Yates's best lap, meanwhile, was 5.3secs slower than the pace setters.
One particular area of concern for EBR, however, is top speed, with May's best of 287kmp/h over the race weekend well down on the overall best of 320kmp/h, as posted by Marco Melandri and Alex Lowes.
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