Josh Brookes says he's been surprised by the initial similarity between the BMW S1000RR and his British Superbike-winning Yamaha YZF-R1 and has left his first pre-season test in an upbeat frame of mind.
The 2015 BSB champion has enjoyed his maiden track time on the Milwaukee BMW as the team prepares to step up to the World Superbike championship. Brookes, along with new team-mate Karel Abraham, have the arduous task of building the German machine from a basic race bike into a front-runner, but this is something the Australian and Shaun Muir Racing is familiar with having transformed the new R1 into a title winner last season.
In a similar pattern to 12 months ago, Brookes remarked how similar his initial feeling with the BMW is to the Yamaha despite the two manufacturer's traditional varying characteristics.
“It's surprisingly similar to the Yamaha, which is something I wouldn't have expected,” Brookes said. “I've been from Hondas to Suzukis to Yamahas, Supersport to Superbike and all sorts of changes and nothing is really that comparable. They're all motorbikes, they have handlebars, throttle is on the right but from bike to bike there's been nothing that really carries over.
“If you took the notes from the first day testing with the R1 and then the first day testing with the BMW, it'd almost read word for word. The problems we're having with the bike and the changes we're making to find solutions are very similar.”
Despite the familiar call sheet Brookes says simply applying the same methods isn't as straightforward because he is still getting to understand his new technicians from BMW Motorrad, which is proving a bigger challenge with the World Superbike electronic packages.
“After the year of BSB I was really tuned into what the bike was doing,” he explained. “I could give really accurate feedback about whether it was an engine braking problem or a chassis problem or suspension problem.
"I didn't suggest the solution I was just able to give key comments that would send the guys immediately to the problem and give them an idea of what I'm going through as a rider so they can then get into a position of how to fix it as a mechanic. I'm not able to give that key feedback back to them because everything is so foreign at the moment.”
Brookes ended the two-day Jerez test tenth fastest on the timesheet, 1.9s off of pace-setter Tom Sykes on the new Kawasaki ZX-10R, and produced significant gains through engine braking developments. The Milwaukee BMW rider has remained realistic and says the team should be satisfied with its results after just two days of on-track testing.
“We started making the changes with the engine braking all of a sudden I was going five tenths quicker, four tenths quicker and started finding time really quickly,” he said. “That gave everyone a little more enthusiasm about the improvements we were making. Sure, we were top ten or whatever and it's kind of hard to measure how well we've down because as a team, a bike and a rider you always want to do really well but you have to be realistic.
“It's a big task, it's a team that's gone from Yamaha to BMW and we're merging with a number of BMW people who are assisting with the electronics so there are a lot of people who need to intermingle to work with each other to get the best out of the motorbike. Considering all the situations that have come in, we've had a really successful two days.”