Honda stayed at Jerez to kick start their 2021 testing programme ahead of the upcoming WorldSBK season
After two days of testing were interrupted at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto last week, Team HRC returned to the Andalusian venue to kickstart their testing programme with riders Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam, with new team manager Leon Camier overseeing track activities for the first time. The weather yet again hampered running but both Bautista and Haslam were able to get back out on track during Thursday’s dry spell to turn their first laps in 2021.
Team HRC were the only team from within the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship who were at Jerez on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and were able to use the dry weather during Thursday to continue development of the CBR1000RR-R. The team had been intending to test for two days in the rescheduled test but rain on Friday interrupted that; the team not wanting to use one of their ten allocated private test days in difficult conditions.
Bautista and Haslam both tested several updated components on their machines in Honda’s first running of 2021, enabling the duo to provide feedback to Honda’s engineers in Japan as the manufacturer looks to get to the top of the order in the second season as a full-factory outfit once again; and build on their sole podium from the 2020 season, with the team making steps forward with every passing race last season.
Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista said: “We have not been very lucky with the weather, it’s been either rain or a wet track, but we finally made the most of a half day, testing some new items HRC has brought for the upcoming season. We were able to collate some useful data and gain some references, and at least give the technicians the indications for them to be able to continue their development work. So with that in mind, it’s been an important and very positive test, albeit a short one. Now we have the direction to follow in order to take the next steps at future tests.”
Leon Haslam added: “The weather here has been crazy but honestly, I think this test was very important as we needed to evaluate quite a few things for HRC. Even though we eventually had just half a day, we were able to complete some laps and give the engineers and team the information they needed, and so now they can continue their work to prepare for the next tests. It’s been really good to get back on my CBR, the feeling was good and the new items we’ve tested were very interesting, so now I have even more motivation ahead of my training camp in coming weeks. Hopefully we can test again soon so that we’re well prepared for the start of the season.”