Oulton Park Superbike:
An insight into our weekend:
We went to Oulton Park expecting a big challenge and got one, the bike has moved on and changed significantly since we were last at the track and certainly the lap times were improving through the whole field so we knew it would be a big task.
With us this weekend was a Ducati Corse engineer which helped us to get to a good chassis set up quickly. Thanks Ducati.
We really needed a test day or two there first, but budget and time constraints make it impossible so we had to use the three free practice sessions to get a setup and lap time ready for qualifying.
We were making changes to chassis and engine braking strategies throughout the weekend, even between races, finding a tenth each time out.
The guys worked really hard this weekend , long hours without mistakes under pressure isn’t easy!
The set up result and race plan was to focus on the second half of the race, our bike is very strong in the last 1/3 as it preserves the tyres well and handles better with a light fuel load, so our issue is always the first few laps. This plan was a gamble we had to take, but we found the longer the race went the better for us, When the safety car is out it allows everyone to look after the tyre a little more and uses less fuel, so not ideal.
Matteo cleared the first challenge of Q1 and finished Q2 in P18 for the race. Target was P16 to be on the best side of the track for the start but missed it by 0.1 of a second. Qualifying is very tough at this track and the experience of some of the very experienced BSB riders was just too hard to beat.
As predicted, the start of each race was a struggle, passing and making ground when the bike is heavy with fuel is difficult, especially at Oulton park, but once the race is settled and underway Matteo was lapping at good pace.
In all three races the consistent lap times were at the pace we needed and with a better qualifying position and start we’ve shown Matteo and the Panigale can keep pace with the guys in the top ten.
Strengths of the weekend: Strong lap times from mid race distance, good power from the slow turns, good tyre preservation. Our new engine braking strategy worked :)
Struggles:Lack of tracktime sets us back at each track, we need a few more laps before qualifying, especially at the tracks that are so different to the European and international fast flowing circuits that Matteo is more familiar with. We need some more top end power for the long straights in the races coming up.
Now onto Cadwell Park: At BSB level this is a track where it is impossible to race at without a test, so we went from Oulton to Cadwell this week and Matteo completed about 70 laps of the track, we made a few big changes and now have some data to look through and work on for next weekend. Matteo loved Cadwell and with some more laps under his belt we’re expecting to pick up some more championship points before we move on to the final 4 rounds at Donington, Assen, Silverstone and Brands GP which are more familiar to him. Ideal as we’re out of testing budget :)