Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 01 Mar 2016
Many a big name from the British Superbike championship will gather in Cartagena tomorrow for the first major test of the 2016 season.
While not an official test, the southern Spanish circuit plays host to most major British championship teams from 3rd-6th March, including BeWiser PBM Ducati, JG Speedfit Kawasaki and Tyco BMW as riders go head to head on track for the first time this year.
The test marks the first time four-time champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne will be on track with his Ducati Panigale R alongside those out to beat him this season.
Alongside team-mate Glenn Irwin, Byrne and the BeWiser PBM team enjoyed a strong shakedown test in January and will use the next few days on track to fine-tune the Motec electronics to their new Ducati steeds.
Having already completed a number of tests abroad, the JG Speedfit Kawasaki trio of Leon Haslam, James Ellison and Peter Hickman will be looking to make further progress with the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R. Returning from the World Superbike championship, Haslam still holds the lap record at the Cartagena circuit from his time with Honda’s WSB team three years ago.
While some teams already have a few tests under their belts, others will make their 2016 track debuts at the test, including Tommy Hill’s ePayMe Yamaha squad with riders John Hopkins and Stuart Easton. Neither rider has yet ridden the latest YZF-R1 so the test presents a crucial opportunity to familiarise themselves with the ex-Milwaukee Yamaha bikes.
After a brief shakedown at Brands Hatch last week, three-time champion Ryuichi Kiyonari joins Tommy Bridewell on track with the Bennetts Suzuki team. The duo’s initial impressions of the GSX-R1000 were positive, but having only completed a handful of wet laps at the Kent circuit the real work is yet to begin for the Bolton outfit.
Christian Iddon will get his first taste of the Tyco BMW S1000RR alongside Michael Laverty, who won the last race of the season with the Moneymore squad.
Danny Buchan will also be back on track with his MotoRapido Ducati, as will Bournemouth Kawasaki riders Luke Mossey and Filip Backlund after a brief test at Almeria earlier this week.
A number of teams will remain in Spain for further testing next week.