WSBK

Rea back on the bike as Castrol Honda completes successful Assen test

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The Castrol Honda World Superbike team has completed a two-day test at Assen in the Netherlands with three riders on its Honda CBR1000RR machines.

With fine weather yesterday, Jonathan Rea was able to ride for the first time since breaking his arm and wrist in a warm-up crash at Misano in Italy in June. The Northern Irishman was able to give his injuries a thorough work out and he declared himself happy with the results.

"We didn't get to test very much today because of the weather, which restricted us to a patchy track this morning before it got wet again," Rea explained. "But even those laps were useful to find a good wet setting which we have lacked this season. Yesterday was really good, though, and I was so happy to get back on the bike again. The lap time was quite OK, which was a good confidence booster, and my wrist felt strong. My body certainly knows I've done a lot of riding, so I'll concentrate on some conditioning work over the next week or two. But I've really enjoyed riding again and now I can't wait for Nurburgring, which is somewhere I've had some success in the past," the 24-year-old concluded.

Rea was joined at Assen by Castrol Honda team-mate, Ruben Xaus, who is still recovering from back injuries sustained in a race one crash at Brno in the Czech Republic last month.

The 32-year-old was still suffering some discomfort from his back and was only able to ride in short bursts. With rain at Assen today, Xaus opted to sit out day two of the test.

"It was good to ride again, and my speed and lap times yesterday were not bad considering that I was really only able to ride at 80%. However, I could only do a few laps before my back became too uncomfortable to ride any more. I decided it would be too much to ride today as well and I don't think I would have learned any more because it was too wet. My injuries have improved but there is still some more improvement to find," the Spaniard concluded.

Also testing with the Castrol Honda team was Alex Lowes, who replaced the injured Rea both at Brno and the last World Superbike round at Silverstone in the UK at the end of July. The 20-year-old from Lincoln rode both days at Assen, completing many laps and testing new settings on the Castrol Honda Fireblade.

"To be honest, I was a little down when I left Silverstone because we struggled to find a setting there and the weekend ended in a crash. I went out at Assen yesterday and we made a couple changes, which gave me a really good feeling again and I was immediately able to lap quite close to the times I set here when I tested after Brno. We did some more work in the wet as well today and I really feel comfortable on the bike now," Lowes declared.

Team owner, Ronald ten Kate concluded saying, "This was an important test to get Jonathan back on the bike and to find a good rhythm again and, from that point of view, it was very successful. We got through a lot of work yesterday but, unfortunately, the second day was wet. Even so, we've been working hard and used some new settings that gave Jonathan a lot of confidence. Ruben did not feel so good and could only do short stints on the bike, so he clearly needs some more time to recover from his Brno injuries. Alex got through a lot of work and did some good stuff, particularly on wet settings, so we'll get busy now preparing for Nurburgring, which we're really looking forward to."

The team now makes the short trip back to its Netherlands base to prepare for round ten of the 2011 World Superbike championship at Nurburgring in Germany over the weekend of 2-4 September.

Main Photo: Jonathan Rea
Ruben Xaus

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