Following on from a successful test at Jerez a few days earlier, Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team with riders Leon Camier and Jake Gagne were again in fine form, completing 189 laps between them, as they continued evaluating chassis and engine components for the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 ahead of the 2018 WorldSBK season.
After setting a scorching pace at Jerez, Camier once more showed a very fast turn of speed, setting a best lap time of 1’41.623 on the newly laid Portimão asphalt. For American rider Gagne it was his first taste of the undulating Portuguese circuit and his continued improvement over the two days was unfortunately cut short with a crash. Medical checks revealed that he had suffered no serious injury, but he was forced to miss the rest of the day’s running.
With a successful pre-season testing stint in Europe now complete, the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team heads down under for the official WorldSBK pre-season test at Phillip Island, Australia from February 19-20.
Leon Camier 2
It was a good test all in all, we made a lot of progress and smoothing things out as we go. We did some slightly longer runs as well to understand how the bike’s going to work towards the middle and end of the race, I was pretty comfortable with that. We still have some areas we’d like to work on to improve our race pace and lap time on the race tyre but it’s all progressing. We had a good feeling on the qualifying tyre as well so, as I said, all in all pretty happy and looking forward to getting to the first race and getting started.
Jake Gagne 45
First time here at Portimão and I like the circuit a lot, it was a lot of fun. I knew straightaway when I was walking it that I’d really enjoy it and that it would suit my style a lot more. We had a good day going yesterday, the first day on the track, I really enjoyed it; we made some progress with the bike and I made some progress with my riding. I felt a lot more comfortable than when we left Jerez, unfortunately we didn’t get the last couple of hours in yesterday which I think we could have made some good progress in. Today started off good, really happy with how we left yesterday, but unfortunately I had a little off and missed the rest of the day. It’s a shame because I think we had a lot of potential here at this track, but I’m actually really happy and I have a really good feeling with the bike. I’m riding it better and learning a lot so I’m ready to go to the Island, I’m ready for Australia.
I’m more than happy with the combination of the tests from Jerez and Portimão because we finished both tests in good positions, even today we had the second best time. This was on soft tyres but from Leon’s side we can see that we have a good pace. In my point of view we are really in the pack to fight for the top positions, of course it looks like the current champion Jonathan Rea and his teammate Tom Sykes are the ones to beat but behind them there are big possibilities. I’m more than happy with the total situation of the team as we have a really fast rider with Leon Camier and of course Jake Gagne who has a lot of potential and could be a dark horse in Australia. He has a good guy next to him in the box so he can learn from his data and from his adjustments. The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has had a really good, proper winter testing programme and I think we can say that we are more than ready for Australia.