Final Winter Test And Round One Preview – Phillip Island, Australia 16-17th February 2015
Conditions: Dry, sunny
Team Hero EBR riders Larry Pegram and Niccolo Canepa took part in the official pre-season tests at Phillip Island in Australia between 16th and 17th February with a determined Canepa ending up only one place outside the top ten in combined times.
Niccolo set a 1’32.002 lap in the final afternoon session to finish only 1.143 seconds from the very top, filling both rider and team with confidence for the first race day of the 2015 season, on Sunday 22nd February.
Pegram was not so lucky on day two as he had to stop riding early after picking up a nasty stomach bug that detuned his performance on track. On his first visit to the fast and flowing 4.445km Phillip Island track he ended up with a best lap of 1’34.274, and was 22nd fastest of the 25 riders on show.
Canepa’s testing performance was the high point of the new-look Hero EBR team’s preparations for the challenge of a new 13-round season, the second year the Hero EBR team has been present in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
“I am happy with Niccolo because he is doing a great job. He is showing what the bike is really capable of and what our team is made of. I am just happy we took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and built the team the way we wanted and are showing people what we can do. I have picked up a stomach bug of some kind so I had to stop riding early today because I did not want anybody else in the team to get sick. I am not happy that I got ill because I think I could have gone a lot quicker today. In general I think that what we have done so far is exactly what we expected we could do, but I knew it needed the right crew and the right riders to do it. It has been all clicking together in the team, the gears are meshing and everybody is rolling together in the same direction. We are working hard while having a good time in the paddock and I only expect great things this year.”
“It is incredible to be here today just over one second slower than the fastest lap. It is wonderful for Hero EBR, the team, everybody. I want to say thanks to my team because they are doing a very good job, working hard, and they worked a lot on development at home this winter. For sure it will be a tough season for us because it is never easy and we have no data that we can really use from last year because the bike is different in some areas. When we go to a new track to find a new set-up we will not always have two days of extra testing before race weekend but the bike is improving a lot and we are working well. I am happy, confident and being so close to the top at this stage is like a dream for us. Every time we test we start working in the right direction and this is very important. I think we are close to the limit but we still have some more things to do to make further improvements.”