Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam are set to continue their preparations for the 2021 WorldSBK season, with a two-day Official test in Barcelona which begins tomorrow. 

2020 Saw HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) make their return to the series as a full factory outfit with 2019 series runner-up Bautista and 2019 BSB champion Haslam. 

It was very much a learning year for the team who also have a new team manager for the upcoming campaign in the shape of former WorldSBK rider Leon Camier. 

Bautista got the team’s sole podium in 2020, but both riders were consistent top ten finishers in a season that was one of the more competitive in recent years. 

Both riders got their first taste of the 2021 CBR1000RR-R last week during a private test in Jerez. 

Speaking after the team’s bike launch, I asked Haslam and Bautista about where the weaknesses lied with last season's bike, and what was the main focus of improvement.

"From my side last year was very difficult. We only had a very short season because of Covid, and it was my first year on the bike, first year with the team," said Haslam.  

"We were learning everything from FP1, and you only had two 45 minute sessions and then racing. 

"Honestly we were very close and in our second year with the exact same bike and with all the small changes that we have been requesting we can make that push. This is key in year two."

Bautista agreed that the Covid situation was a big factor especially as it happened in the team’s first season, but said small details were the focus such as electronics and positions on the bike which can bring them closer to the front.

Bautista added: "Yeah, I agree. At the end last season was not normal for the work development because of the situation of Covid, so at the end we have work to do for this season, but we didn’t make big changes on the bike. 

"The base of the bike is very similar and we just work on the small details like electronics and some position on the bike. 

"So yeah, it is small steps I think can help us to make more steps forward. 

"We will see, we have some tests before the first race and I don’t think we will make a big change on the bike and try to make a step forward to reduce the gap to the front riders."

 

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