Matt Bond, 28/03/09 – 29/03/09
Moto Six Nations
Saturday – Free Practice
We began with the set-up from the Portimao test, along with the standard factory set-up on the Ohlins rear shock. It was a good base to start from and would give us an indication as to which direction to make our adjustments.
The opening part of the session was good. The bike felt a lot more lively thanks to the LeoVince exhausts and DynaPro Interceptor fuel mapping box we had installed. The bike had a lot more bottom end grunt and pull out of the turns, while maintaining great top end speed. I also had more grip and better feel on the rear end.
A quick flying lap bought us up to pace, and with track conditions worsening we ended the session early, rather than risk a fall.
Saturday – Qualifying
We set the bike up with a basic wet weather adjustment inside it, which seemed to be okay, but lacking in terms of mid turn grip. It was difficult to get on the throttle early as the bike would run wide.
I pitted and made a few more adjustments which made the bike turn very slowly, making it difficult to enter the turns. We revoked this change later in the session and began to make some good progress.
We ended with a much smoother feel and more grip, which in turn improved the lap-times extensively.
Sunday – Race One
Starting from right at the back of the field in 32nd place on the grid was something that seemed a little daunting at first, but after some thought and planning, I was pretty certain that I knew what was required.
Off the start I made a good clean getaway and divided to the inside as much as possible, found a gap and stuck to my line. The whole first lap was really just an exercise of staying rubber side down! Once the field had settled I set about making some forward progress.
Lap by lap I gained places, but remembered to take my time and be patient, it was better for the team to finish 20th than fall off trying to get an extra position. I was struggling somewhat when the bike was under heavy load, but used the extra power we had thanks to the LeoVince exhausts to spin the rear, and steer round the harder turns.
I was happy to make a couple more places at the end of the race, finishing 19th, and getting some good points saved for the team. We also gained more knowledge on the set-up of the new bike, and had an idea of what changes we needed to make.
Sunday – Race Two
Again I started from 32nd, but had a new plan for the first lap: to be aggressive and make as many places as possible in the first few turns.
I got a much better start, ran in deep, squared the corner off and got a great run through Craner’s. I had to life my knee and bike up to avoid team mate Bruce Wilson, but apart from that the first lap was fairly incident free.
I made a few more places over the next few laps, with simply set-up, get the drive and out-brake manoeuvres, and then became enthralled in a battle with Scottish rider Les Shand. We swapped places maybe three or four times, and closed in on the group ahead, but he got the better of me, finishing in 14th place at the end.
Overall it was a great weekend. We got some great data to work with, found out more of what works with the K9 and I got back into the swing of close racing. Once we get the bike fully prepared for Brands I’m sure we are going to make some real progress and bag some excellent results.