John’s Blog: Jerez Official IRTA Test
So from Valencia we moved to Jerez for the second of the three official IRTA pre-season tests. I was looking forward to getting more time on the new bike as I had only one day in Valencia due to late arrival of my new engine. I flew out to Malaga and drove up to Jerez as at this time of year there are no direct flights. I enjoy driving in Spain as the roads are really good and the scenery is very different to home.
Weather was sunny with only light breeze, perfect to just up the miles and get a better feeling for the new Honda. We tried some different parts and also played with suspension settings. By the end of the day we had moved things forward and I was really getting happy with the new chassis. I was trying new things myself and experimenting with weight transfer to understand better how I could change the handling. I did almost 50 laps and ended the day in 13th at 1:48.547 so was pleased with that as we weren’t really chasing times.
Another fine sunny day so we continued to experiment, building our knowledge together; I’m getting on well with my new crew, Toni and the guys and we’re learning how to get the most from the bike. We also had to do some tyre testing for Dunlop, so that was interesting experience too. I got down to 1:47.801 at 17th overall on the day and 66 laps. Some of the guys are really going for one off lap times with new tyres, which is fine. But we are more focused on race settings and delivering more consistent laps, we even did a full race simulation. It just means that at the end of the day when you see the time sheets you have to take a step back and be realistic, as we all want to be at the top.
Cloudy and damp first thing so we didn’t go out until a little later in the first session. I have a good feeling now with the bike so once again we concentrated on small changes to build confidence further. By the end of the day after another 35 laps, I managed 1:47.592 and was very satisfied with the progress over the three days. However, I am still down on track time, so from here we’ll go to Almeria for a day to work on these new settings at a different circuit, as the final test is back at Jerez again. It will also give us some more mileage on the clock.
Almeria 1 day track day:
Not the best way to test, but the best option for us as we know Almeria from the couple of days we had at the circuit last November and can compare data easily. It’s a complicated, varied track and gave us a different circuit to see how our settings worked. The track was busy as it’s used by a lot of teams and some private riders at weekends. Just Toni, Frank, Anthony and I spent the day going through small changes again and getting a good feel for the bike particularly on used tyres, as the surface here is really hard on them. I was nearly two seconds quicker than our last visit here and left at the end of the day much more confident and comfortable with the new machine.
We now have a break until the final IRTA test back at Jerez on 11, 12, 13 March.
I’ll keep you updated on progress!
Thanks again for all your support,