Jonathan Rea at Assen

Jonathan Rea at Assen

Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama have declared themselves satisfied after concluding a two-day private test at the Assen circuit in the Netherlands. Assen is the nominated test circuit for the Honda World Superbike Team and lies just 65km from the team’s Nieuwleusen headquarters in the north of Holland.

Despite losing some track time yesterday morning while the circuit was cleaned, the team tried the latest evolution of its Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade engine and also worked on a variety of chassis components and electronics settings.

The next round on the 2012 World Superbike calendar is Motorland Aragon in Spain over the weekend of 29 June-1 July – a circuit which Jonathan Rea has not ridden before after missing last season’s event through injury.

Jonathan Rea

There was some slippery stuff on the circuit first thing yesterday and it took some time to put some rubber down, but it turned out pretty good in the end. We got to try a lot of new stuff, some of which we’d be reluctant to try over a race weekend and we ended up faster than over the race weekend in April. The new engine was a little better on the straights but we won’t make any firm conclusions until we get to Aragon with our rivals. We worked a lot on gathering data for new electronics strategies and we’ve definitely made a step forward here and we’re looking forward to using that. The throttle is smoother on acceleration and we also tried quite an extreme front fork setting which gave a good feeling. I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks off now, before re-gathering with the team at Aragon.

Hiroshi Aoyama

I crashed at about 240kph yesterday at the end of the back straight at Assen. I slid for a very long time on the asphalt and I think I was almost cooked by the time I eventually stopped! Apart from that, the test was very positive for me and we tested some things that I like. We have also improved braking stability into the corner and this gives me a lot more confidence. I will take a breather now and prepare for Aragon, which is not so far from my home in Barcelona.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

We used these two days to re-confirm some set-up items – linkages, suspension, that sort of thing – and a variety of electronics settings. We looked at an interesting base setting which might be worth investigation and the latest engine developments have been positive, too. We’ve made some progress with Hiroshi’s set-up, as well, and I think he could have gone a little faster, but he was quite sore after his fast crash yesterday. We’ll keep working back at the workshop and take the positives to Aragon and try to put them to good use there.

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