Josh Brookes says the new swingarm trialled at Donington Park has given Milwaukee BMW a fresh base to build upon for the second half of the World Superbike championship after being 'baffled' with S1000RR.
After an underwhelming opening to his and the Milwaukee BMW squad's step up to World Superbikes as British Superbike champions, Brookes is relieved to have found an upgrade on his bike which correlates to the all-important data compiled by his engineers.
Brookes is confident he now receives a substantial and consistent feeling from the BMW S1000RR which not only allows him to push but also enables his crew to make corresponding adjustments when at times he'd become bemused by his bike.
“It was a feeling thing because I was able to push the front tyre and feel the edge and where the limit was and get the rear working,” Brookes said after his ninth place at Donington. “I felt more at one with the bike more than other rounds.
“We made progress at Aragon but it didn't carry on then at Assen there were moments that didn't transpire at other tracks. At Sepang the bike felt very vague and I couldn't push with it and every time I did I went slower. Normally when you push harder and brake later you find a tenth or two but every time I did that I lost a tenth or two.
“That was the difference at Donington, being able to push the bike and get the return investment. Taking a risk and getting something back for it.”
A regular race-winner and championship winner, Brookes has been in unknown territory outside the top ten and admits it was difficult to accept when the bike wasn't responding with any expectancy.
“That has been frustrating because often the bike hasn't performed in the natural process. Sometimes we will make changes expecting results and we've had the opposite. It did feel like 'how is that even possible?' It did leave a lot of us baffled at times.
“I haven't been able to give the correct feedback because I haven't been able to get the correct response from the bike. If the bike is performing in an unusual pattern it is difficult for the mechanic or engineer to give you a change to the bike that you're looking for.
“It was good yesterday because it was the first time when I've said where the problem with the bike is and we looked at the computers and it correlates. Literally perfectly, metre by metre, second by second, corner by corner.
“It is a true reflection of how I feel on the bike and that gives the mechanics a lot more range to tune. At this point we've got to look at any positives and build on that.”
Looking to draw a line through the turbulent opening seven rounds of the year, Brookes is keen to notch up the results he forecast at the start of the campaign; regular top eights, towards top sixes and latch on to the podium challengers.
“We've now got the second half of the season to push on and hopefully build,” he said. “If we have a nice end to the year people may forget about the beginning. So it is important for me and everyone involved to but a strong finish in for the second half of the year.
“I feel positive because what we changed on the bike was the first time the bike has had such a big improvement.”