Matt Bond, 20/07/07 – 22/07/07
FIM European Superstock 1000 Cup
Friday – First Practice
After the success of the test a few weeks before hand, the first session was a simple re-familiarisation process, that didn’t take long, and instantly the bike was feeling really good and the times were consistent and improving.
The new internals inside the rear shock seemed to totally alter the way the bike gripped, making it much more stable under braking and acceleration, which made it ideally suited to the Czech track. Even if there was very little grip on the track, making traction somewhat non-existent and made for some very interesting sideways moments!
Towards the end of the session I started to push a little bit harder and managed to better my previous personal best lap time, putting me nicely inside the top 20, in 17th place. It was the best free practice result so far this season, so all was looking good for the opening qualifying session.
Friday – First Qualifying
I got onto the circuit with the front group straight away, but after 2 very hectic laps, I decided to pull back and wait for a tow from one of the fast guys. Cue Sheridan Morais on the Pedercini Ducati!
I hooked straight onto his back wheel and for four or five laps we were together, and I managed to follow his lines and match his pace round the majority of the track, and it was all clicking into place. Both Shez and myself managed to clock our fastest laps, just before we both let off, with the intentions of returning to the pit lane to put in a new pair of tyres for the last half of the session.
I blasted off in an attempt to make it back to the pits quickly, giving the guys more time to change the wheels, etc. Then the back made an almighty bang and all the power beneath me just disappeared. It sounded like a plug cap had come off, so, not knowing any better, I proceeded to tour back to the pits, with the engine getting worse all the way up the hill leading to pit lane.
As soon as I was back I could tell that our weekend was over by the looks on peoples faces. I was gutted. With no spare engine, the best opening to a meeting we had had slipped through our fingers, and I watched the timing screens as I slid from 12th down towards the bottom end of the field, but I wasn’t last! Far from it, but with no chance of returning to the track the last thing I could do was smile or see the good side of things.
The Rest Of The Weekend
I decided to just sit and watch and see what I could learn from the guys out on circuit, and it helped me to see just how to ride really hard for that one lap in qualifying, and also how to pace yourself in the race. It was useful.
On the good side I’d ridden the bike well and proved I can run at the sharp end of the field, and we’ve got a good bike set up ready for Brands. Whether we will have a new engine will be the major question, but I have faith in the team.