After hitting the track for the first time in Jerez at the end of January, the team headed to Arago´n looking to improve their knowledge of the bike and work on their set-up. Strong winds on Wednesday hampered running for all of the pit lane, but the team were able to get out on track and work on configuring the bike.
Rider Josh Brookes, who had been anticipating strong gains at Arago´n, said, “Everybody struggled to do proper running with the weather, but we still managed to do laps on both days which was useful. We made some progress on the bike’s suspension, but we still haven’t got the correct shock in which is causing us some problems. The front worked pretty well, but we really struggled with the rear. We made a big change that improved turning and rear load, but I just lost my side grip. It warmed up on Thursday so I could push the bike a bit more. We used some set-ups from last year, and by the end I felt better but it’s still not where we want it to be. We’ll get some new parts from O¨hlins and Suter in time for Phillip Island which should help, because we know the bike can still be a lot better. Ahead of the first round we now have to gather our data from Jerez and Arago´n, and I’m excited to start racing in front of my home fans.”
“Wednesday was difficult because the wind was so strong, but we did some really good work in the garage on my bike’s rear suspension and the electronics,” added first time WorldSBK rider and Brookes’ teammate Karel Abraham. “We got some good laps in on Thursday and used what we learnt. I had a small technical issue in the afternoon, but we fixed it quickly and got some more set-up work done. It was a shame we couldn’t do as many quick laps as we wanted to, but it was still a very useful test. I found out lots about my riding style, and how to make the bike work for me. Now I’m really looking forward to Phillip Island; it’s a track I like, and the final test will be really important for us.”
With big performance gains made and more expected in Australia, the team is quietly confident ahead of their racing debut at Phillip Island.
Team co-ordinator Mick Shanley added: “Overall it’s been a good test for us; we couldn’t really push for fast laps, but we were able to get a lot of work done on the bike set-up and getting the riders more in-tune with their bikes. We tested a new front fork, and we’ve made some good progress with the bike’s electronics, which we’ve developed a lot since Jerez. Our consistency has been good which is exactly what we aimed for, and apart from a small issue for Karel we’ve been pleased with how the bikes are working. Now we’ll head to Phillip Island for the final pre-season test ahead of our first WorldSBK race, and the team is excited to show what we can do.”
The final pre-season test takes place at Phillip Island on the 22nd and 23rd of February, before Milwaukee BMW officially launch their bike and look ahead to the first race of the season a few days later.