After 108 laps, both Peter and Hugh pronounced the bike perfect. ! We could not have been more pleased with a first test. It was just one of those that went really well. I think a measure of a good test is; how much time do you get to eat in the evenings, or how long is the snag list ? Well, on both those measures it was fine – we had time to eat well!
So, to give you some idea; Over the 3 days we wanted to get Hugh bike familiar again and to shake out any problems with the XR69, find solutions and get the baseline set up. The weather was fine and the track remained available for almost 100% of the time, so all those were achieved. In fact conditions were ideal, with early morning track temperatures of 8 deg C, allowing low temp tyre testing and the 35 deg C afternoon temperatures giving the opportunity for hot testing. Continental have four tyre compound/types for the front and rear.
We took the trusty 2018 P&M GSXR 1200 as a work horse and the new XR69, with 17″ wheels, to develop.
Hugh’s ability to switch concentration from work (he is glued to a laptop) to riding, and do both to 100%, is well known in the team, but his ease at doing it always surprises new team members. He practised both skills well and ended the two days with around 55 laps to his credit.
Peter’s job was made simpler as a set of competitive XR69 base settings were already available from Classic TT races. The front geometry was close to perfect from the off, but the rear needed a lot of change. However, a good geometry setting was achieved on day one. On day two , shock and spring changes enhanced the handling further, plus some front spring and damping work finished the package off. Finally, some deliberate mis-settings gave us an understanding of the ends of operating windows before we go to Paul Ricard in 5 weeks time.
It has to be reported that Peter had a light tumble when he hit pea gravel that was spread across the track after an incident. Four riders fell at this point.
The final session was given over to a trial ride by Jari Tuovinen who completed 8 or so laps at a very competitive pace and who pronounced the bike ‘excellent’. Jari is an experienced Swedish superbike and endurance rider who will be joining Hugh and Peter in the rider line-up for Paul Ricard. After a successful off-road career, Jari turned to road racing eight years ago and most recently competed in Bol d’ Or on a YART prepared machine last September.
Nine team members were at Aragon and some useful training was done, which should make the team stronger as those people take on roles later in the season.
Thanks to all the team , riders and sponsors for making this test possible.
Paul Ricard 4 hrs will be held during the evening of Saturday 11th May, we hope you can make it. RB