Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark have completed their first shakedown tests on the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP during a private test at Jerez in Spain.
The four-day test was plagued by rain showers, including a completely wet day on Thursday, which limited track time for the two new Pata Honda World Superbike riders. However, both expressed satisfaction at their first rides on Honda‰Ûªs flagship production sports bike.
Carrying the number one plate for the first time, Guintoli, spent his first laps on the Fireblade getting accustomed to a different engine configuration compared to the machine on which he won this year‰Ûªs World Superbike championship title.
However, the 32-year-old French rider gave his new team, including crew chief Flavio Prodolliet, some valuable feedback and a positive response to the 1000cc in-line four cylinder machine, particularly its refined chassis and handling characteristics.
"It‰Ûªs been a really positive first encounter with my new team and the CBR." Guintoli stated. "It‰Ûªs clearly a different machine to what I‰Ûªve been riding for the last two years so this test was really all about dialling into the Honda and learning about its strengths.
"We‰Ûªve gone in a big, wide circle to learn how the bike reacts in a number of different situations. So, while the lap times are nothing to jump up and down about, we‰Ûªve done the base work here and we have a good direction to go in the next time we test.
"It‰Ûªs also been good to get to know the mechanics, the technicians and the rest of the team this week. We‰Ûªve had some good laughs and there‰Ûªs already a great atmosphere in the box.